Battling a viral infection for most of 2013, there were many times near the time for my flight to Seattle that I thought most seriously about not making the trip. I had a couple of commitments, one to a new LLAMA Leadership Committee for which I just got appointed a few months ago and the other was an appointment as BCALA Membership Task Force Chair. Both of these I had promised to attend and had assignments in each. So wanting more to uphold my word, I plunged away warning my roommate that spending 5 nights together might be more than anyone would willingly signup for.
Friday morning was spent attending the BCALA Executive Board meeting. One of the ups or downs depending upon how you view it is revisiting strategic priorities. Results were shared with the larger group of a SWOT analysis that was conducted by the board during its new member retreat on Thursday night. Listed among our strengths were; networking, promoting African American literature, and sustaining our legacy and organization. Weaknesses seem to mirror some of the same ones identified in almost every strategic review done during my 20+ years as a member. And yes believe it or not we had the discussion of image and what we call ourselves. Black librarians or African American or perhaps something entirely new, doesn’t really matter to me. Ultimately whatever the term we choose to identify with, we need to avails ourselves of the opportunity to be an advocate for librarians of color, promoter for authors of color and their works, to be mentors for and providers of networking opportunities for librarians new to the profession and to be providers of a venue, our listserv, instrumental to libraries looking to increase the diversity within its staffing. These all confirm our need to exist. And if we can manage effectively those things that may be threats to our success; communication, technology, image and structure, then we can remain a necessary and welcomed organization within our profession. The Membership Task Force, of which I serve as Chair, has been charged to conduct a survey of our membership this spring. Our committee met and did a rough draft of the survey we plan to conduct.
Saturday’s ACRL Personnel Administrators groups gathering centered on several topics of personal interest to me. A discussion of social media policies concerning recruitment proved as varied as one would imagine. Some believe that it minimizes the likelihood that the person could be judged fairly. Others believe it sheds an open door to more about an individual than they would willingly share in an onsite interview. If all people were fair and impartial, it could potentially play an integral role. The fact that my blue haired facebook photo would likely cause a few of the librarians I know in our profession to remove my application from the pool, however is a reality and does concern me. The group also explored electronic system options for sharing dossiers in the peer review process. This topic really got me thinking and I am eager to pursue options for our use here at ZSR.
I am a member of the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA) Leadership Skills Committee. We met to continue conversations regarding the program proposal we submitted for annual on “Project Management for Libraries.” We also brainstormed ideas for future program topics planning. Some of the topics to make the short list were, work life balance and new hire orientation. Only one topic was proposed as a please don’t talk about anymore and that was succession planning for libraries. So, I wasn’t sure what led to that plea, but it came across loud and clear.
ARL unveiled a searchable database of position description designed to house a libraries position descriptions, but those of their neighboring ARL academic institutions as well. With limit functions, you can do a variety of internal only searches as well as searching for similar titles across the spectrum. I thought it would be an excellent tool, especially when we look to write advertisements for our own vacancies. The database is free to all ARL libraries, however currently it is not open to non-ARL, leaving us out of the loop. For more info look here: http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/arlpdbank/
Mindful Leadership through Tough Times, a panel discussion also sponsored by LLAMA, was also a hit for the standing room only crowd. Mindful leadership was described as a connection between the brain and leadership. Mindful leaders are thoughtful and attentive, nurturing those in their care towards their goals. A Mindful leader manages emotions while building a sense of community. The Mindful leader is self-aware and therefore your followers are likely to see you as empathic and most authentic. Your authenticity generates trust and your team wants to follow you. As the discussion came to a close, the following recommendations were offered:
• Talk to your peers, share ideas and share stories.
• Talk to your staff about what really matters.
• Share tools with your staff that help them reflect and think.
• Remind yourself that in times of change, lie great opportunities.
• Keep the mission and vision alive.
• Walk the walk.
• Take time to nurture creativity.
• Create a positive environment, where experimentation is welcomed.
• Allow yourself time to pause and reflect.
• If you don’t look around and ahead, who will?
• LISTEN and consciously practice being in the moment, being mentally present.
• Mind full or Mindful, your choice.