Gen X Librarians: Leading From the Middle
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Thomas, Lisa Carlucci, Sobel, Karen, and Nina McHale. "Gen X Librarians - Leading From the Middle."

Thomas, Lisa Carlucci, Sobel, Karen, and Nina McHale. "Gen X Librarians - Leading From the Middle."

Presentation for the Computers in Libraries Conference, April 12, 2010.

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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