Inspiration, Innovation, Celebration, an entrepreneurial conference for librarians planned by several librarians from UNC-G and Mary Beth, Mary Scanlon and myself from WFU. Mary Scanlon introduced the concept of using google docs to store the many discussion ideas, program proposals and other detailed planning documents. She graciously served as the groups official note keeper throughout the planning process. A debt of gratitude also goes to Kevin Gilbertson for designing the conference webpage and to Mary Beth for working so closely with Kevin transferring the planning groups ideas and suggestions. Together they were instrumental in showcasing the conference to the world. Please take a look if you haven’t already. http://cloud.lib.wfu.edu/blog/iic/ Mary Beth was also a key designer for the layout of the conference program.Craig Fansler also had a hand in designing the covers. Join me in thanking them for a job well done.The conference captured the attention of about seventy eight attendees, representing 15 different states and even one attendee from the UK. Each was eager to hear and share their own entrepreneurial story. It was clear in the planning stages of the conference that everyone had a different take on just what the concept of entrepreneurism meant within libraries. As imagined the celebration brought together a rainbow of themes and concepts.
Joyce Ogburn, opening keynoter brought together risk and entreprenership. Ogburn compared risk to water. Either you like it or you don’t. For certain you must learn to swim to survive, you can only tread for so long. Jump in the waters just fine. A few of her strategies for dealing with risk included:
Fast track decisions
Be ready for opportunities
Reinvent and reinvigorate
Experiment, shift and adapt
Assume more risk, but manage it
Partner with others
Plan in shorter time frame
I really enjoyed meeting and hearing WFU’s own Jon Obermeyer, our featured luncheon keynoter. I am not sure which I enjoyed more his stories concerning the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and how they can reproduce a bladder in about 6 weeks or his recommended six topic area approach used to describe concisely the viability of a new product or service. His ease and style of delivery both caught my attention and lead me to conclude that he would be an excellent presenter for us here at ZSR and on the WFU campus. Copies of presenter speeches and handouts will be placed on the conference website. When they are, you’ll want to check his out.
I was assigned the task of monitoring Cone A during the conference. I had the joy of hearing some very interesting sessions. One of which was Jennifer Calvo from NCSU libraries.This entrepreneur shared how NCSU launched the Learning Commons After Dark programming. With an average 10:00 p.m. gate count of 700 students, they asked the question,how can we keep this relevant and fresh? Their solution involved using innovative services, dynamic programming and actively engaged staff. They created a series of events, each was to expose the library’s collections, raise awareness of the late hours and foster and further develop the learning commons student community. Some of the events shared included playing a series of older board games, guitar hero, gaming night competitions and a night of making sock animals. Calvo’s shift begins at 9:00 p.m. and ends at 3:00 a.m.
My next session featured Kem Ellis, Director of the High Point Public Library and Mark Livingston, President Transformational Library Partners. This dynamic duo was instrumental in planning the 2008 North Carolina Library Associations’ Leadership Institute. There session entitled “Developing Entrepreneurial, Customer-Focused leaders” was a recap of the founding principles they applied to creating the week long event. They designed the institute using these three beliefs and practices.
Authentic leadership starts with passion and purpose.
Libraries offer significant value and can make a measurable difference in the communities they serve.
The ultimate test of leadership is earning and keeping the loyalty of employees and customers.
Think and act “Outside in.”
Strengthen relationships and loyalty.
Focus on the total Library experience.
Lead with purpose and authenticity.
On Thursday the final day of the conference, I did not feel well and left the conference early. However before leaving I was able to hear Anita Norton share Johns Hopkins University’s story of entrepreneurism. For a fee (not disclosed to the audience) Johns Hopkins provides the library resources needed by the faculty and students at Excelsior College. Together they integrate both library services and resources into their online courses.Librarians from John Hopkins join forces with instructors and course developers to create the structure and content of the classes offered. They have collaborated on 63% of the courses developed.
Planning this conference was a wonderful experience, one I truly enjoyed. I would love to see us do it again and this time have Wake serve as host!