Professional Development

ALA Midwinter with Wanda

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 11:59 am

Continuing in my quest to get more involved with the Library Leadership and Management Section (LLAMA), I attended my first meeting as Member at Large for the Human Resources Section. I had a dual role during the meeting as I also reported for the Leadership Skills Committee, of which I am also a member. In late fall I was asked to run for Chair-Elect of the Human Resources Section. To be honest I wasn’t sure how all this aligned with my current service as Member at Large. I kept trying to get the LLAMA organization visually in my head. I found this LLAMA organization chart from 2012 and it does help some to make all this clearer. I thought you might also like to see the other areas of emphasis.

I enjoy the work of Human Resources, so I can’t believe that I will not for a second be fully engaged in this work. As we outlined a program proposal on leading virtual teams, I knew this area was a good fit for me. What are some of the best practices around leading teams of which the lead has no real authoritative power? What are some of the tools available for hosting virtual meetings? How do you keep members motivated and on task? One committee member suggested we partner with LITA on this program. Of course one hurdle is getting board approval to host at this annual and not annual 2015. Discovering at this meeting that our timeline was off, we immediately began discussing ideas for our program at annual of 2015. Our next program will look at ways to identify unconscious biases and understand how they impact your everyday beliefs and interactions. The program will also offer strategies for overcoming unconscious biases.

During the ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group meeting, I heard Karen Calhoun share details on the University of Pittsburgh’s Library System Leadership Development Program. This is an internal to Pittsburgh program open to any library worker. Both Librarian and library worker may elect to self nominate or may be nominated by the Dean or supervisor. With an annual budget of $25,000, Karen manages a 9 month program that seeks to make strong people even stronger. Attendees learn to identify and acknowledge their own individual strengths and then how to make best use of them to benefit the library. Other session topics include time management, organizational change, effective meetings, project management, managing your professional image, team-building, crucial conversations and communication planning. Change within our libraries has to occur quickly, so a lot of emphasis is placed on leading from right where you are. From the audience came concerns on the benefits of having open and free flowing conversations and how this might be dampened with attendees all coming from the same organization.

We also heard from UNC-Charlotte’s University Librarian, Stanley Wilder who gave a review of Library demographics within ARL Libraries. Though he spoke primarily on ARL trends, I found much of what he said to be right on the mark for ZSR Library as well. We have been hearing for years now about the graying of the profession and the big retirement trending. Around 2009/10 we were right in the middle of it. With the economic downturn during this same time some elected to push retiring back a few more years. Those retirements however made way for libraries to evolve and meet the current needs of their users. Look back a few years and you’ll see we were able also to do the same. Positions such as Scholarly Communications, Access Archivist, and Instructional Design were made possible from staff retirements. Wilder stated that libraries are paying more for in many cases fewer positions. Student assistant hiring is down 25% and down in expenditures 3%; support staff though down 20%, expenditures are up 25%; professionals up 10.5% and up 57.5% in expenditures. Also the focus on IT skills has impacted the gender swing in libraries.

Of course I spent considerable amounts of time with my BCALA family and did my usual tour of the exhibits. It was here that I took my one conference photo. It’s not a great photo, but I am always amazed at bravery in any form. And you must admit that one has to be pretty brave to wear this outfit when there’s snow outside all around. STimaging paid tribute to breast cancer awareness with a bright pink scanner and of course a salesperson willing to be on the spot!

7 Responses to “ALA Midwinter with Wanda”

  1. It’s so nice to hear about divisions and sections of ALA that I know very little about. Pitt’s Library System Leadership Development Program sounds awesome!

  2. I think U of Pittsburgh Library’s Leadership Development program very intriguing! Does Karen bring in external people (with her $25K budget?). Also, thanks for sharing the LLAMA org chart. I still find the organizational structure of ALA very mystifying.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! Like Chelcie said, it’s always great to hear more about the parts of ALA I’m unfamiliar with!

  4. I’ve made a note to look for the program on unconscious bias in 2015! Thanks for the tip.

  5. Interesting. Thanks for informing us.

  6. Very informative report. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love the pants!


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