Its not only about titles – There are several librarians in management position that have no idea how to manage people which is what made me become a librarian in the first place. For me that is why its extremely important to lead your leader.
Make sure you have your own philosophy. Take some time and jot down your feelings/philosophy about librarianship/libraries your position where you’d like to see your position be. It helps to find this kind of clarity in your work and give you and others a better perspective of you.
I never had to lead anything. I followed everyone. This is my 3rd grade photo, I was held back because of a reading issue. Always stuck up for my friends when I saw something that wasn’t right. Then in High School I tried out for Captain of the Drill Team but only made it to co-captain because I was to dancey so they said. But then I showed them I was crowed homecoming queen my senior year! First black homecoming queen of my school where 4 generations had attended before me. Then college was my next step, I was undeclared for a year took ice skating, karate so of my general requirements but not all.Then what would have been my sophomore year became my freshman year as a dance major. Seeing I was on the 5 year program and losing Financial aid every year it became harder to stay in school so I dropped out when I was offered a full time manager position at the mercantile I worked at part time. Moving to New England in 1992 I took any job I could and at one point had 3 jobs in one year. Worked in a movie theatre, video store, children's store, furniture store….
Smith College: Team Work – my first support staff position in libraries was at Smith this became the place I seriously developed a passion for searching, exploring and a deep respect for Reference Librarians. Soon after I started the department was singled out as a problem area. Just a few years ago there had been layoffs and job cuts and a few people had been let go. The library director called a meeting just for the Circulation department and we where given instructions. “Read this book”.. It was titled Zapp!! The lightning of Empowerment. “Most managers know that revitalization in their companies must occur from the ground up. But how to get that message to employees without applying the kind of pressure that makes them even less productive? The answer is empowerment. In this motivating book, you will find specific strategies designed to help you encourage responsibility, acknowledgment, and creativity so that employees feel they "own" their jobs. It's all here, in an accessible guide for the successful managers of tomorrow.”It really wasn’t a bad book but it was a bad time to give a book like that to us. It was clear to us that we just need a supervisor who could supervise people. We felt she was socially inapt and clearly needed more management skills and spoke up about it. It took years before they transferred her back to her old position in the another library on campus. We had retreats every week forcing us to go and to get along. It wasn’t easy hard helping my co-workers build confidence in themselves. But you always have the ones who say….”what I say will never make a difference it doesn’t matter”. And I reminded them that it does matter and it does make a difference. If you don’t speak up then who will?? Its not bad or wrong to have an opinion or to speak up when you feel disrespected, hurt or marginalized. (Which happens a lot in libraries).Overnight the department was transformed and rearranged in to a team model. We were all miserable. We sabotaged work, called in sick, were late back from lunch and complained complained, complained mostly to each other. Many of the staff would complain to me they felt that nothing they would say would help to change anything. Even going to the ombudsman with no results. I then decided I needed to move on…..I started helping out in other areas where they needed help and found that submitting borrowing requests was a lot of fun. The hunt was the part I loved most, searching and searching for the right items.Once I was transferred to the Interlibrary Loan/Reference office they let me work the reference desk when they had Librarians meetings. I felt so important and terrified hoping no one would ask me anything but maybe “where is the bathroom?” Then in 1997 I broke my leg playing softball for the college’s co-ed employee team. Wheelchair bound for a year gave me lots of time to reflect. Once my leg healed I knew I was going to go back to school but once it did heal I wasn’t able to dance again. It wasn’t a good year and my evaluation was great until she wrote “she lacked iniciative in finding a ride to work.” Needless to say we had mediation and we agreed to disagree.
Coming to Amherst was a great opportunity. They expected everyone to be able to work independently and in teams but there wasn’t that forced sense of YOU HAVE TO BE A TEAM here. After about my first 3 years there I finally asked my boss so…who am I assisting??? My title was Circulation/Interlibrary Loan Assistant. It was clear I needed a job upgrade not only in salary but title by this time and I successfully advised my supervisor that getting this particular software to manage our ILL transactions was necessary and with the money we saved from sending so many request through our local currier we paid for the software. During this time I was enrolled in UMASS part-time to get my BA finished up finally. When I applied for the TS position I took a slight pay cut but knew what I would learn would be extremely valuable in the future. I also did an internship in the Archives/Spec. Collections department for credit. It was also here that I proposed Chat reference, outreach programs during significant events on campus like Banned Book Week, National Library Month, exhibits – Library teas, creating marketing table tents suggesting other marketing/promotional materials Doing virtually/online and in person tabling (Instant Librarian) at the campus center to answer questions about the library outside of the library. Had Waffle day during a intersession when students who lived to far away to go home had to stay on campus. Had a movie screening for Hollywood Librarian. Friends of the library events – alumni teach events important to collaborate with others on campus. Amherst was a huge factor in my library upbringing. After receiving my MLS I was awarded a 3 year residency or fellowship in librarianship where I was mentored by librarians. I learned collection development, began training staff on different applications like word, facebook and things of that nature. Transitioning from support staff to librarian was a really tough nut to crack I'm not sure if I did crack it but I paved a serious path for others. The dynamic became very unstable and in some cases dangerous. Expectations were raised, relationships became different but still there.
Relocated, and here I feel like a real equal to my peers. Contributor and creator of the library Facebook page. Giving presentation on social media to the faculty. Exhibits.
Going back to school became my focus and the vision of better librarian leadership ship was needed. After having several less then great supervisors I made it my mission as a duty to my colleagues who suffered with me under toxic, micromanaging and narcissistic bosses. Staff development is important. Go to HR if you have questions or need help to find such programs. Many are offered free on campuses. The University Without Walls Program was a great place to get back in the swing of college life. What I loved was the part where learning gained from life experiences, the workplace, community activities, and other contexts gave you credit ! I was able to finish my BA which mostly consisted of the Gen Ed’s (that I should have finished the first time around). I was able to get tuition reimbursement especially if geared toward what you already do in your current job. Soon after graduation I applied for the GSLIS program and began my MLS right away. Similar to the UWW program the GSLIS West at Mt. Holyoke was geared toward non traditional students and they offered terrific support and the faculty really make you feel special and heard. Have a mentor at all times to bounce ideas off of and to offer advice: pursuing my degrees I had many mentors. ****The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 established a new public service loan forgiveness program. This program discharges any remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service. - public librarians, school librarians and other school-based services
If you are lucky you can get your current job to pay for your higher education, if not in many cases there are tuition reimbursement programs to assist you. I was able to take Algebra for free when I worked at Smith College and transfer those credits to my UMASS degree. But there are many scholarships and awards to get out there.
ALA Organizations of BCALA – LITA – NMRTLLMA – Library Leadership of Massachusetts Association unfortunately the program was cut because of budget cuts. ALA was a great experience working as teams. My team was located in California, Chicago and Indiana and I was here in CT. Our objective was to find out ways in which LITA could use social media to connect them their users. Using SKYPE and Google Docs we were able to create a wiki, handouts and more for our poster session in Chicago plus a video….BCALA supported me through out my emerging leaders program and were my sponsors helping to pay for my travel to Mid-Winter and the Annual conferences. NETWORK!!!! Great place and time for networking!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaaJ_579F4g
Relationships: create them…. When I was at Amherst and Smith I would make a point of visiting almost every department once a month just to say hello or pass out some chocolate. Many folks are isolated in their departments and do get out it always a nice surprise to see one of your colleagues you don’t normally see stop in for a visit. You may only see some of these people at Staff meetings and some of their offices may be across the green or at a branch. Interests find them in others: Art/DanceUncommon: bagpipe player – video gamer - Communication is always an issue:Miscommunication or no-communication try to keep everyone informed Commitment/Reliabilty: Be there when you say you willRespect: important to have for others work, realize that what you do effects others and knowing there contribution is relevantNegotiating: Become a change agent : accepting the need for change, communicates and defends the need for change throughout the organization, creates an open and receptive environmentCreate Pilot Programs: Instant Librarian, Library Staff Book Clubs, Be Innovative: create videos, take photos, create a blog, fan page, twitter accountBe Creative: think long term, ask what others thinkAnd if you have to agree to disagree and move on.
Some have to be burned but if you can avoid it do. Help others to learn – train staff/cross trainLastly Move ON!! Relocate if you have to and if you can. The former president of Smith College told me once that its better to leave and come back then to stay in a position that isn’t fulfilling. When you return you’ll have a much different perspective and you’ll bring new ideas with you. Creating a supportive, productive and proactive environment and "humanizing" the workplace--that people matter most.
Be creative, innovativeIM/Chat, Facebook/Twitter/Readings Events/Snapshot Day/Read Posters/Teas/Alum Events/Community Events/ChurchesDo your own researchWhat you say and don’t say matters….
Support staff conference presentation1
The role of leading from a support staff positionCLASS Professional Development for Support Staff Conference University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT November 18, 2011 Tracy Sutherland Public Services Librarian Eastern Connecticut State University
• Defining Leadership• Library Leadership Philosophy• Background • Smith College • Amherst College • Eastern Connecticut State University• Vision/Focus • LLMA • ALA Emerging Leaders• Relationships• Negotiating• Speaking Up• Learning More• Resources - Handout
• Lead: The action of lead v.2; leading, direction, guidance. to take to lead : to take under ones direction or guidance.• Leadership :The dignity, office, or position of a leader, esp. of a political party; ability to lead; the position of a group of people leading or influencing others within a given context; the group itself; the action or influence necessary for the direction or organization of effort in a group undertaking. Also attrib., as leadership behaviour , leadership school, leadership skill.
• Leadership is one of the most important aspects of an organization, and with leadership comes continuous learning.• Being a leader takes great communication skills and empathy.• Past experiences fueled my passion both to be a librarian and to develop into a leader in my professional and personal environments.• It’s important that a leader know when to ask for assistance as well as identify areas for growth for the team and his/herself.• Never ask anyone to do something you aren’t prepared to do yourself.• CYOA!!!
• Born in Southwestern Ohio• Youngest of 8• Held back in 3rd grade• Always stuck up for friends• Co-Captain of the Drill Team• Homecoming Queen• 1986 first attempt at College Undeclared for a year• Decided on Dance major• Dropped out in 1989• Worked retail into the early 1990’s• Moved to New England 1992
• Bachelor of Arts in 2003 from UMASS Amherst• Masters in Library Science in 2005 from Simmons Better librarian leadership is needed!
• Library Leadership of Massachusetts Association• American Library Association (Emerging Leaders)
• Interests • Common or uncommon• Communication • One on one• Commitment• Reliability• Respect • Become a change agent • Pilot Programs • Be innovative • Be creative
• Showing Initiative • Getting NO as an answer shouldn’t surprise you • Don’t take it personally (usually the process is the problem) • Write proposals• About the library• About the organization • To further its success and yours
• Working on projects• Managing students• Suggesting ideas• Implementing ideas of others There are many ways to lead
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then isnot an act but a habit" ~ Aristotle
THANK YOU!!!! Tracy Sutherland Public Services Librarian Eastern CT State University firstname.lastname@example.org 860-465-5719