Blogger Amy Steinbauer

It’s a Beautiful Day in Your Neighborhood: Creating a Serviceable Service Map

It's a Beautiful Day in Your Neighborhood

My system is rethinking, relaunching, and rediscovering what our community and neighborhoods are like right now, and how the library can fit into our local communities. It feels like the perfect time to start this work, as our neighborhoods have been pretty closed off the last couple of years to keep us safe. I warned my staff when our fiscal year started in October, that pretty much all they would hear from me this year is the word: Resetting. And that word is perfect as a launch to reset yourself in the community, and reconnect.

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Staff Love Languages

Examples of Staff Love Languages

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, it’s a good time to think about the love languages of your colleagues/staff. This is always important to think about, but it feels more important with the low morale, stress of Covid & handing out test kits, and winter blahs; I want to ensure that my staff feel appreciated and supported as much as possible. Below is my riff on the five long languages as they apply to working in the library.

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To Boldly Go Where They Have Not Gone Before

If you are lucky, you will have the opportunity to host a library school student; someone who thinks working with youth, caregivers, and families is absolutely the best.  Given that, I must be extremely lucky.  At last count, I have been able to do so fifty-two times.     Sometimes they are paid, sometimes not.  They can be called interns, or practicum students, or a number of other titles.  Whether they are just entering the professional workforce straight from college and graduate school, or have any number of years’ experience within or beyond the library world, an opportunity awaits for everyone involved.  In just one or two semesters, your investment of time, and sharing of knowledge, can turn out to be the pivotal learning experience for an aspiring children’s librarian. It all begins with a promise.  You promise to train them in all manner of library things.  They promise to apply…

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Leadership During COVID-19

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post for the ALSC blog titled, ‘Leading Toward a Shared Vision and Common Purpose.’  I cited Richard Harwood’s book, Stepping Forward: A Positive Path to Transform Our Communities and Our Lives, for finding hope through common purpose and collective action. This call to step forward and find authentic hope is even more relevant in today’s pandemic-changed world. COVID-19 has been an extreme test of leadership across the country, causing even the strongest and most seasoned leaders to begin dreaming of early retirement. The library world is no exception. How can we be the kind of leader our teams need during so much uncertainty and change? What leadership skills and traits are most beneficial in these trying times? As a new library director (7 months in!), I’ve consulted many resources for ‘crisis leadership’ advice. Providing strong leadership for our teams is especially important…

Administrative and Management Skills

How to look ahead…

We are in a historical moment. A pandemic. We can’t do what we have always done, and maybe that’s a good thing. I hope that our systems, our peers, and ourselves take a second or eighth look at what we have always done and see the potential to do more or rediscover what we could do. As numbers increase across the country, and more uncertainty looms with the flu season upon us, it’s getting kind of hard to go work. Even if you love it. And so many of us really do. This is a difficult time to work in the public, and it’s a difficult time to manage those who do. Psst. I don’t actually have any answers. I keep going because it’s my job, and I want to serve my community and support my staff. So, to go on… I practice safety at work. I wash my hands…

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…

Administrative and Management Skills

Wanna be a Branch Manager? Manage Yourself First.

Do you want to be a branch manager? Ok, I have a scenario for you: Let’s pretend you are a children’s librarian in a large multi-branch library system, with a personal passion for serving homeless adults in your city’s downtown district. Given the choice between facilitating an outreach storytime in a women’s shelter downtown or in a private Montessori school one block from your library (all other things being equal), which should you choose?