In the Workplace

Leading Academic Libraries to Excellence (Program Recap)

I spent Friday at the ACRL-Delaware Valley Chapter spring program, Leading Academic Libraries to Excellence. Even as a nonleader, I found the day’s talks and the panel discussion to be incredibly inspiring. Here are selected notes and comments.

Steven Bell, current ACRL president, opened the day with a talk about grassroots leadership, which he defined as leading from anywhere, not just the top.

A few key points from his talk:

  • Leadership is about creating change.
  • There are some things formal leaders just can’t do.
  • Look for opportunities and gaps libraries can address with our resources, and then do it.
  • Recommended reading: Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership

Joe Lucia, who will be moving to Temple University this summer (who else is excited to see what happens when he and Steven Bell are in the same library?), talked about getting everyone involved in change. Libraries can be paralyzed by culture, he said, but we have to be willing to try the unknown and take real risks. We need a compelling shared vision and shared celebration of success. Partner and collaborate. Encourage experimentation at all levels, and cultivate a sense of playfulness.

Overall, I loved the positivity put forth by the speakers and attendees. When I signed up for the conference, I was hoping for a palate cleanser, something to push me from getting through the day-to-day to truly being excited about the profession. This was all that and more. Thanks to everyone involved. Let’s go do great things!

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