Professional Development

In the '2009 NCLA Biennial Conference' Category...

Sarah at NCLA

Saturday, October 24, 2009 2:36 pm

On Wednesday, Oct. 7th, I attended the North Carolina Library Association Conference in Greenville. Keith Michaels Fiels, American Library Association Executive Director, was the keynote speaker at the Opening Session. I won’t rehash the details since Wanda has already summarized his presentation, but I agreed with his comment that “we need to assert our role in education because libraries are the other half of education system.” I also attended the Women’s Issues in Libraries Roundtable luncheon, which featured Linda Carlisle, N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources Secretary, as speaker. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources includes the State Library, the State Archives, Historic Sites, History Museums, the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. She made a good point that “Libraries are important to the health and vitality of a community.” Also, Bryna Coonin from East Carolina University was a recipient of the Marilyn Miller Award for Professional Commitment of the Women’s Issues in Libraries Roundtable. I had served with Bryna Coonin on the Association of College & Research Libraries-Science & Technology Section (ACRL-STS) Research Committee, and it was great to see her win the award.

Wanda @ NCLA

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 11:26 pm

I am down in Greenville, attending the North Carolina Library Association’s 58th Biennial Conference themed, “NC Libraries: Serving Knowledge…Serving You. “Tuesday was a day for morning travel eastward on a most rainy and dreary day to conference headquarters for a Library Administration and Management Section (LAMS) sponsored pre-conference that outlined strategies and goals used in the 2008 Leadership Institute. It was a most welcomed pleasure to see our own “Lauren Pressley” highlighted as one of the institute MVP’s! Institute leaders Mark Livingston and Kem Ellis shared core principles and beliefs of the institute in a session entitled “Leadership: It starts with you, but it’s not about you!”Included were these beliefs:

Authentic Leadership starts with your unique passion and purpose – Lead with purpose and authenticity.

The Ultimate test of your leadership is earning, keeping, and growing the loyalty of employees, customers and key stakeholders – Strengthen those relationships.

Libraries provide significant value and can make a measurable difference in the communities they serve – Focus on the total library experience.

Here are a couple of suggestions that were of particular interest to me.

Designing an agreed upon and accepted by each service point, a consistent plan for delivering customer service.

Informing your customers as they enter your building what they can expect their experience in your library to be. For example:

You may expect — a warm welcoming environment, personalized service and attention to your specific needs.

During the NCLA Executive Board dinner the group sang Happy Birthday, this was the extent of my birthday celebration along with all the folks who wrote on my facebook wall.

This morning I worked the registration booth from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00. This was great preparation for my next role (or shall I say our role) planning the next biennial conference. We had quite a few onsite registrations. Not sure what our final numbers are, but I’ll find out and report later. In addition we had several issues with the lack of wireless access for our vendors. I think the convention center might find beneficial a little refresher on the “customer services” angle as well as what the effects ofcondescending tones has on relationship building.

Keith Michael Feils, ALA Executive Director was our opening keynoter. Even though it may be discouraging at times for libraries, we are still the best bang for the buck! Here’s what he suggest libraries get busy doing.

Determine how technology will impact us.

Work to serve all, overcome issues of poverty and race.

Lead the world in diversity.

Preserve the rights of Library users.

Fight to keep information free.

Continue to attract the best and brightest.

Lead the world in international relations.

Work on funding for Libraries.

Document the value of Libraries.

Lunch was fun! Jane Bozarth of the NC Office of State Personnel/HRD Group led a very light hearted discussion centered around enjoying life. The luncheon was a popular choice of some 45 librarians. I read this to be an indication that even in difficult times, people look for an opportunity to wind down.The session entitled, “Thank God it is Monday: Enjoy Your Job, Enjoy Your Life,” invited attendees to focus more on the little pleasures. Our first assignment was to list five green light experiences. You know how you feel when you make all the green lights coming down through town, or get that parking spot near the library. How does this make you feel? My list included being greeted by a co-worker with a welcoming smile; hearing my favorite song before I exit the car; and of course a good hot drink.

Key principles to enjoying your job included liking what you do, being good at it and believing what you do has meaning. Ok for a little test. If you’ve read to hear send me an email listing these three things:

A) What you like most about your job? B) What do you think you are really good at? And C) Do you believe what you do has value, if so what?

Just testing – I hope you’ll all respond to me. I really want to hear.

My afternoon session, “A Crises is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Reinventing Your Library During Challenging Times,” featured David Singleton, Director of Library Experiences at the Public Library of Charlotte. He discussed secrets for thriving during turbulent times, embracing change, brainstorming for success, looking at programs, services and staffing in strategic ways that make sense in today’s reality. Singleton’s view of reactions to challenging times is mostly emotional to staff. Some don’t feel valued, only focusing on the present and in dire need for someone to communicate with them both openly and honestly about the situation. Don’t assume that all will act the exact same way. Other tips included:

Leadership is the key to striving during challenging times.

Embrace optimism.

Be courageous.

Focus on the organization, both internally and organizationally.

Focus on customer service excellence.

Work towards continuous innovation.

Remove barriers; empower staff.

Plan for the future.

I have a lot more notes I took during this session. So if you’d like to hear more, stop by I’d love to talk with you. More later…Wanda

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