April 15, 2008

CIL 2008

Posted in Computers in Libraries 2008 at 11:31 pm by gmillsap

I’m back at the Library after attending the CIL 08 conference.  As promised, here’s the link to my PP presentation on SlideShare.  Leading Technology in Libraries

It was my first CIL and a great learning and networking experience.  I was in the minority there, as people kept pointing out.  As a public library director, attending and presenting, it was a great opportunity to hear what colleagues are saying about those of us in formal leadership (some major director/management-bashing going on).  It was also a great opportunity to hear first-hand about some of the frustration and barriers library colleagues are experiencing in their jobs.  

I think I have a good understanding of those frustrations and part of my job as director is to work with staff to create a work environment where barriers are minimized or eliminated.  I don’t think a lot of library staff have a clear understanding of the role of the director; and staff and directors need to both shoulder the responsibility for that.  Directors need to be open and accessible to the library organization, in terms of what we’re doing and the results of our work should be tangible.  And those are: creating a shared vision, enabling our staff members to do their best work, encouraging the hearts of all employees, modeling the way in establishing the gold standard for customer service by serving our employees, and always challenging the process. i.e. “there’s a better way to do this.” (Thanks, Kouzes and Posner!)   Staff need to own their responsibility to avoid passive-aggressive behavior, get to know and communicate with leadership, if they want to have influence in their libraries.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it three more times.  Face time, face time, face time!  I don’t necessarily agree with Michael Stephens that directors should be able to step in and do any job in the library.  At one time, I could do that because I’ve worked in or supervised virtually every area of a public library.  (And those experiences have been fun, interesting and invaluable.)  It is essential that I be knowledgable enough to ask the right questions, assess the competency of the people in formal leadership and set expections for performance and service outcomes.  It is critical that I spend time with staff talking to them about what they’re doing, sharing what I’m doing and helping create the context of what we’re accomplishing together FOR THE CUSTOMERS.

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December 28, 2007

I’ve got something to say!

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:00 pm by gmillsap

To quote Def Leppard’s song, “Rock of Ages”, I do have something to say — about public libraries.  (Yes, I know I’m dating myself here.)  How they’re governed, how they’re led, how they’re organized and most importantly, how they serve, or should serve customers.  Being a library director is incredibly fun, challenging, consuming and even scary sometimes.  I’ve been one for 12 years and everytime I think I’ve got it figured out, I discover how much I have to learn.  Not a bad way to make a living.  In the course of writing and I hope receiving comments from other directors, or other interested folks, I hope this becomes a new way to learn and grow and support each other.