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Gen X Librarians: Leading from the Middle
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Gen X Librarians: Leading from the Middle

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I presented this at Computers in Libraries 2010, with Nina McHale and Lisa Carlucci Thomas. We discuss Generation X's roles in the library workplace, as well as its interaction with the other ...

I presented this at Computers in Libraries 2010, with Nina McHale and Lisa Carlucci Thomas. We discuss Generation X's roles in the library workplace, as well as its interaction with the other generations currently working in libraries.

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    Gen X Librarians: Leading from the Middle Gen X Librarians: Leading from the Middle Presentation Transcript

    • Gen X Librarians:Leading From the Middle
      Lisa Carlucci Thomas
      Digital Services Librarian, Southern Connecticut State University
      Karen Sobel
      Reference & Instruction Librarian, University of Colorado Denver
      Nina McHale
      Web Librarian, University of Colorado Denver
    • Introduction
      Generation X and Technology (Nina)
      Generation X at Work (Karen)
      Generation X and Leadership (Lisa)
    • Introduction
      Generational Generalizations…
      Analyzing general qualities of groups of people can be positive and helpful
      Generational diversity can be a positive element of the workplace (Jason Martin)
      Assigning traits of a generation to and making assumptions about individuals can be hurtful and counterproductive
      There are 20-something “digital novices” and 80-year-old “tech gurus”
    • Introduction
      Generation Terminology
      Traditionalists
      born before mid-1940s
      Baby Boomers
      born mid-1940s-early 1960s
      Generation X
      born early/mid-1960s-early 1980s
      Generation Y/Millennials
      born early 1980s-early 2000s
    • Generation X and Technology
      Growing Up (Along) With Technology
      Gen X librarians developed technology skills as necessary as computers were introduced for research and productivity in school and work environments
      Earlier generations generally added computer skills to their professional skills after completing college and joining the work force
      Gen Y/Millennials have used computers since childhood
    • Generation X and Technology
      Growing Up (Along) With Technology
      When computers entered their lives:
      Boomer librarians – after their educations
      Gen X librarians – during their educations
      Gen Y librarians – before or toward the beginning of their educations
    • Generation X and Technology
    • Generation X and Technology
      Gen X’s Increasing Access to Computers
      1984: 15.3% of 3-17 year olds had computer access
      1993: 31.9% of the same group had access
      “…during this ten-year period, Generation Xers aged from early teens into twenty-somethings.”
      -Marisa Urgo, Developing Information Leaders: Harnessing the Talents of Generation X
    • Generation X and Technology
      Generation X: Between Two Worlds
      Typewriters and Word Processors
      Card catalogs and OPACs
      Print and Electronic
      Analog and Digital
      Traditional and Social
    • Generation X and Technology
      Parallels in Personal Lives
      There has always been a generation in the middle, *but*… tech adds a new dimension.
      The “Sandwich Generation”
      Added to Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006
      Tech support for parents and grandparents
    • Generation X and Technology
      Gen X Attitudes Toward Technology
      Proficient with technology
      Accepting of change and desire to improve systems
      According to Pew Research Center, Gen X is the most likely group to “bank, shop, and look for health information online”
      Connecting traditional institutions and new modes of communication
    • Generation X at Work
      More About The Sandwich Generation
      Two “sandwich” perspectives:
      In the library instruction classroom
      Interactions among librarian colleagues
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Classroom
      Mix of Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y
      Many commuters
      Many parents
      Mix of income brackets & levels of education
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Classroom
      Generalizations…
      How (Do?) we make them?
      How can they assist our students?
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Classroom
      Learning computer skills and content simultaneously
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Classroom
      During their educations, Gen X:
      Learned to use computers
      Learned other educational technologies
      Researched in print
      Researched online
      Used many print and electronic formats
      Used the card catalog!
      Learned to *adapt*
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Workplace
      Generation X:
      “I like technology, but I’m not an addict.”
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Workplace
      What does it mean to say:
      “I’m not a computer person”?
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Workplace
      Gen X Librarians lead in:
      Technology-related task forces
      Digitization projects
    • Generation X at Work
      Bridging Gaps in the Workplace
      Gen X “Training the Trainer”
      Programs such as the “23 Things”
      Group training on new technologies
      One-on-one tech tutoring
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Making History
      Never before – 4 generations in workplace
      Generation X:
      In the middle of this organizational dynamic
      Rising into management positions
      Unique values = unique benefit
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Generation X: Making History
      20th Century Generations
      Traditionalists - 39 million
      Boomers – 78 million
      Generation X – 44 million
      Millennials – 70 million
      Generation X is smallest entry wave of workers since 1930s
      Likewise, smallest entry wave of managers in leadership roles in organizations now
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Generation X: Making History
      What are the work values of Gen X?
      How do these values shape Gen X leadership behaviors?
      What is the benefit to organizations?
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Work Values
      Independence
      Innovation
      Individualism
      How do these values shape the leadership behaviors of Gen X?
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Leadership Behaviors
      Independence
      Loyal to profession
      Require personal/professional life balance
      Self-driven and self-motivated
      “Xers … are eager to update knowledge and its application into their work.” - (Yu 4)
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Leadership Behaviors
      Innovation
      Flexible, entrepreneurial
      Apply skills in new contexts to achieve goals
      Think “outside the box”
      “[Gen X] Uses the power of information technology to maintain competitive advantage” - (Dunne 3)
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Leadership Behaviors
      Individualism
      Define own paths for personal fulfillment
      Work is a “lifestyle decision”
      Not tied into traditional career development goals
      “Personal fulfillment is intrinsically linked to professional success” - (Feyerherm 1)
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Leading from the Middle
      Promoting Innovation
      Seek challenges, integrate lifelong learning
      Mediating Change
      Building relationships, mentoring, training
      Translating Cultural Norms
      Making a difference, leaving a legacy
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Generation X
      Self-centered, skeptical, slackers?
      Independent, innovative, individuals?
    • Generation X and Leadership
      Generation X
      Dedicated, savvy, leaders
      Integrated attitudes about personal/professional fulfillment, cultural and workplace diversity
      Promoting lifelong learning by bringing fresh perspectives, transitioning from old/new models
      Opening new doors for subsequent generations
    • Thank You!
      Lisa Carlucci Thomas
      Digital Services Librarian
      Southern Connecticut State University
      ThomasL10@southernct.edu @lisacarlucci
      Karen Sobel
      Reference & Instruction Librarian
      University of Colorado Denver
      Karen.Sobel@ucdenver.edu
      Nina McHale
      Web Librarian
      University of Colorado Denver
      Nina.McHale@ucdenver.edu
      @ninermac
    • References
      DeLong, Katheleen. “The Engagement of New Library Professionals in Leadership.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 35.5 (2009): 445-456.
      Dunne, Matt. “Policy Leadership, Gen X Style.” National Civic Review 86.3 (1997).
      Feyerherm, Ann, and Yvonne H. Vick. “Generation X Women in High Technology.” Career Development International 10.3 (2005): 216-227.
      Gesell, Izzy. “How to Lead When the Generation Gap Becomes Your Everyday Reality.” Journal for Quality & Participation (January 2010) 21-24.
      Hutley, Sue, and TerenaSolomons. “Generational Change in Australian Librarianship: Viewpoints from Generation X.” Paper presented at ALIA 2004.
      Martin, Jason. “I Have Shoes Older than You: Generational Diversity in the Library,” The Southeastern Librarian 54.3 (2006): 4-11.
      McIntosh-Elkins, Jeni, and McRitchie, Karen, and Maureen Scoones. “From the Silent Generation to Generation X, Y, and Z: Strategies for Managing the Generation Mix.” Proceedings of the 35th Annual Association for Computing Machinery User Services Conference (SIGUCCS), 2007.
      O’Connor, Steve. “The heretical library manager for the future.” Library Management 28.1/2 (2007): 62-71.
      Pew Research Center. “Generations Online in 2009.” http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/Generations-Online-in-2009.aspx
    • References
      Polsson, Ken. “Chronology of Personal Computers.” http://pctimeline.info
      Robbins, LaToya M. “Bridging the Gap in Leadership Development within Generation X and Y.” Seminar Research Paper Presented to the Graduate Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 2008.
      Seaton, L. Jeff, and Boyd, Michael. “The Organizational Leadership of the Post Baby Boom Generation: An Upper Eschelon Theory Approach.” Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal 13.2 (2007): 69-78.
      Sessa, Valerie, et. al. “Generational Differences in Leader Values and Leadership Behaviors.” Psychologist-Manager Journal 10.1 (2007): 47-74.
      Spence, Lisa A. “Preferences for Leader Traits and Leadership Communication Styles Among Members of Different Generational Cohorts.” Thesis Presented to the Faculty in Communication and Leadership Studies, School of Professional Studies, Gonzaga University, 2009.
      Urgo, Marissa. Developing Information Leaders: Harnessing the Talents of Generation X.
      Yu, Huichun, and Peter Miller. “Leadership Style – The X Generation and Baby Boomers compared in different cultural contexts.” Graduate College of Management Papers, Southern Cross University, 2005.
    • Gen X Librarians:Leading From the Middle
      Lisa Carlucci Thomas
      Digital Services Librarian, Southern Connecticut State University
      Karen Sobel
      Reference & Instruction Librarian, University of Colorado Denver
      Nina McHale
      Web Librarian, University of Colorado Denver