Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Finding Renewal in 2020: Expert Leadership Advice

Taped to the metal cabinet in my work cubicle is a list of tips to “Get Unstuck in 2018” that I printed from author and leadership expert Robin Sharma’s website two years ago. The reminders provide guideposts to help me lead by my best example. I’m struck by the similarities between Sharma’s advice for leaders and the pearls of wisdom for early childhood educators collected from Mr. Rogers of children’s television fame, further strengthening my belief that children’s librarians make the best leaders. Below are my favorite mashups from both experts, Robin Sharma (RS) and Fred Rogers (FR). I hope you find them as helpful as I have in rediscovering my center and redefining my values for guiding a team in the new year: Tip #1: RS: “Ordinary people talk about goals. Leaders get them done. With elegance, brilliance, and finesse.” (1) FR: “There’s a world of difference between insisting…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Leading Toward a Shared Vision and Common Purpose

Supervising a creative, project-driven team, I often tread a fine line between wanting to be a supportive ‘yes person’ and making strategic choices for how we allocate staffing and resources. It’s not always easy, for as David Maister says, “Strategy means saying no” (davidmaister.com). Three books are helpful when balancing intentional decision-making with motivating a team: Harwood, Richard. Stepping Forward: A Positive, Practical Path to Transform Our Communities and Our Lives. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2019. This new book by the founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation introduces seven principles of stepping forward to help communities find common ground, rebuild trust, expand circles of action, and develop a culture of ‘civic confidence’ for positive change. Harwood talks about the importance of stopping to listen, of having the courage and humility necessary to show up, to make those tough and intentional choices, and to remain open to…

Administrative and Management Skills

2019 Summer Learning on Leadership and Management

Looking over the ALSC Blog archives, I was inspired by 2017’s Summer Reading for Managers list, which included a number of stellar titles (go read them already!) As part of my own professional summer reading and podcast listening, I’ve been focusing on the topics of time management and habit change, both of which help prevent burn-out by allowing us to play the long game. Currently, I’ve been inhaling Laura Vanderkam’s work, re-reading 168 Hours, I Know How She Does It and Off the Clock. I appreciate that Vanderkam starts from an abundance mindset, instead of one of scarcity. All of us have the same 168 hours in a week, which over the course of a month provides plenty of time both for obligations and the hobbies or causes that we are passionate about. Vanderkam is a big proponent of time tracking to pinpoint when we are spending our time on…

ALA Annual 2019

Leadership in ALSC #ALAac19

You can tell the attendees of the Leadership in ALSC meeting are serious about being a part of the organization because it’s only 8:30 am, and we had to take a shuttle to go to the Hilton co-conference location– about a 20-minute ride from the conference center. The bus is packed with conference attendees like we are on a school trip! Hot take– don’t forget to take the conference bus to get around, cabs and Lyfts can get expensive. The room is buzzing with former ALSC Presidents, current and incoming President, and perhaps a future President or two. The small group discussion allows you to get to know some members better as ALSC is a rather large organization. And then the presentation on computational thinking, digital literacy, and family connected learning added a live voting feature which made the room feel alive, as well. It doesn’t hurt that free coffee…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

(re)Defining Leadership

A few weeks ago, I attended a day-long, local library conference, which was run entirely by library staff. In fact, the majority of the presenters were front line staff.  The program sessions and poster topics were relevant to everyday branch experiences. Ensuing discussions were meaningful and applicable to our daily work. The day left me feeling invigorated. Later that evening, several of us took some time to catch up and to socialize. During the course of the conversation, we discussed our career aspirations and professional goals. In our group of seven, all except one commented that they had no interest in a managerial position. However, several acknowledged that they would like more opportunities to use and to develop leadership skills. Our conversation made me think about how leadership is perceived and applied within the context of our work. Start with Yourself Often, discussions on leadership focus on management and leading…

Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

2019 ALSC Election Results

2019 results graphic

On Wednesday April 10, 2019 ALSC announced the 2019 Election results. A huge thank you to all candidates who stood for election and for your active involvement with ALSC. We appreciate your commitment to library service to children! Now, the 2020 Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is seeking nominations from personal ALSC members for another group of amazingly engaged and talented members for the 2020 ballot. The nomination form for the 2020 ballot is now open and will close on April 19! This ballot will be voted on in the spring of 2020. 2019 ALSC Election Results: Vice-President/President-Elect Kirby McCurtis, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon Fiscal Officer Amber Creger, Schaumburg Township District Library, Schaumburg, Illinois “New-to-ALSC” Board Director Maggie Jacobs, New York Public Library, New York, New York Board Director April Mazza, Massachusetts Library System, Natick, Massachusetts Caldecott Committee, 2021 Carmen Lynette Boston, D C Public Library, Washington, DC Edie Ching,…

ALA Midwinter 2019

Let’s do better #alacouncil #alamw19

It’s a somber time at council this last day of #alamw19 We have been voting over the last few days to make the work of libraries more supportive for civil rights of diverse genders, disabilities, sustainability, and the social justice of fines at libraries, etc. All huge and giant issues for the library and the issues that we see in our daily lives of work.   But, by now you may have heard that there was a violation of the code of conduct at an ALA Council forum on Monday afternoon. If not– check twitter. And this morning– more than 100 people are in this room– sitting in the aftermath of failing a person… and failing ourselves. If we can’t guarantee a safe space to discuss council issues for all people– not just the majority being white persons– I wonder how are we failing in our libraries?   This is…

Administrative and Management Skills

Children’s Librarians Are Experts at… Leading a Team

Gretchen Caserotti gave an inspiring keynote presentation at the 2017 Power Up Leadership Conference for Youth Services Managers and Staff about natural leadership traits inherent in children’s librarians. The comparison has crept into my thinking multiple times since. Using LLAMA’s Leadership and Management Competencies as a framework, it’s easy to see why children’s librarians are experts at leading a team. Change Management and Problem Solving Who hasn’t planned the most beautiful, age-appropriate story time for 4-5 year olds, only to be surprised by a room full of toddlers? Or sensed in the first pages of a story that you’re losing the wiggly kids in front of you? Children’s librarians are experts at flexibility and problem solving. We can improvise a Plan B, achieve buy-in, and motivate a group to follow our lead, breaking into song or dance when needed. We take risks, try new things, persuade others, and keep a sense…