Professional Development

Susan’s ALA Saturday

Sunday, June 29, 2008 8:52 am

I had a full conference packed day yesterday, attending programs and my committee meeting, touring the exhibit hall and finishing the day at a dinner party hosted by Lexis-Nexis, relating to the Innovation award.

As Lynn said, there are so many programs to choose from on Saturday that I lined up 3 in each time slot so I could have alternate options if one didn’t pan out.

I started the day with a LAMA program “Shift Happens: Aligning Financial Decisions with Strategic Directions.” It was a panel discussion with three library directors sharing their experiences linking their organizations’ strategic directions with resource allocation. Each answered predesignated questions including “what was the catalyst for change?”, “what is your budgeting process?”, “what is the strategic planning process at your organization?” and “what were the results of the planning process in regard to staff and resource allocations?” It was interesting to hear their responses, because many of them echoed what we have been seeing happening at WFU and ZSR over the past two years: changes in leadership, budget constraints, and changes in the budgeting process were just a few. I came away from the session with an appreciation of what our library administration has accomplished, having implemented many of the same decisions that I was hearing about.

They wrapped up with some general advice, many with which we are familiar:

  1. Find your story and tell it.
  2. Play nice with others. Align your strategic goals with theirs. End up building rapport and collegiality.
  3. Be creative and flexible.
  4. Know the structure of your organization and understand its view.
  5. Get broad input into your decisions, keep accountability narrow.
  6. Within constraints, make sure every dollar goes to work for you and doesn’t sit idle.
  7. Develop the ability to say no and realize that some of your decisions will not make everyone happy.
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  9. Question everything that your staff does and consider whether there are legacy systems that you can retire or retool.
  10. For every job vacancy, re-examine what do do with it.

When my afternoon committee meeting (IS Instructional Technologies) ended ahead of schedule, I leafed through the conference program book to find another program close by that I could slip into for the final hour. I ended up at an ALSC program titled “How to Influence Your Director with Skill and Finesse.” How could I resist that? Unfortunately, I can’t share what I learned or I might lose my edge in my next attempt to wow Lynn with a new idea!

I also attended the SPARC-ACRL Forum that Lynn reported about, so I won’t rehash the details here. It is a topic that I have followed casually, so was very helpful in bringing me up to date on the latest Open Access issues.

At the exhibit hall, I continued my history of being overwhelmed by the size of the venue. I cruised up and down all the aisles to get an overview, with the intention of return to visit specific vendors today or tomorrow. The one booth I did stop in caught my attention because it had a huge banner proclaiming “Happy Feet.” And mine haven’t been since arriving here. So the salesman talked me into “therapeutic massaging insoles” that I slipped on top of my custom orthotics. Even if my relief was purely in my own mind, it gave me the energy to finish looping100% of the exhibit hall aisles!

I was invited to be a guest for dinner by Lexis-Nexis, the sponsors of the IS Innovation Award. I joined them, along with Jean Casper, the ACRL Instruction Section Committee Chair, at the Anaheim White House, one of the nice restaurants in town (most appear to be chain restaurants. Rounding out the dinner party group were 3 GODORT members, one of which was another L-N award winner. That was a bonus, as I can use some good contacts for gov-docs questions! It was a great meal, good company and a nice way to finish a busy day.

3 Responses to “Susan’s ALA Saturday”

  1. That list of 10 tips is so good that I am going to print it out and keep it on my desk!

    Can’t wait to see the results of your “How to influence you director” experience!!!


  2. Susan, Can you share the “How to influence your director” with the other team heads? I’ll even buy lunch. It fits into the report from your first session and the “Play nice with others. Align your strategic goals with theirs. End up building rapport and collegiality”…don’t you think so? ;)

  3. Sure, I’ll be glad to share. We can even work up a secret team head handshake that has to be executed before we divulge these important tidbits.And, yes, on the lunch offer!

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