misc-joy

Explorations by Kenley Neufeld

Leadership

Game Changers for Community Colleges

By on November 4, 2010

I just returned from 2-days at OCLC where thirty community college librarians gathered to discuss the community college library environment. If I walk away from an event, conference, workshop, etc. with a list of action items then I know the activity was worth while – the OCLC sponsored event this week was definitely worth my time because I have a short list to work with now that I’m back.

This invite-only event came together around a series of OCLC-identified game changers for community colleges. They did a pretty good job of identifying themes in order to frame our discussion. As we sat around discussing these themes, a great deal of experience was brought into the room and we stepped in directions beyond the five game changers that were initially presented. The five brought to the table were (1) exploding registrations and student populations, (2) budgets, (3) eBooks, (4) working with faculty, particularly adjunct, and (5) leadership and succession.

The list brought to the table does encompass many of the common themes we are experiencing at the community college level. I found the discussion to be rich, informed, and enlightening. No answers were provided but awareness of these themes is important as we proceed in our libraries. My hope is that others can engage in this type of discussion in the future – perhaps regionally – to help frame our status in the academy.  (more…)

When Ready, the Position Will Appear

By on October 19, 2010

I loved the brilliant blog post by Meredith Farkas over at Information Wants To Be Free. She explores the theme of management, upward mobility and sticking with honesty and candor. It’s important to see our strengths and where we might apply them in our work environment. I’m posting my thoughts here as well as on her blog.

My experience has been that one can customize the director position to be who we are as individuals; to be honest about our style and personality. I wouldn’t want to work for a disingenuous person, and I try to reflect that in my director role. Do I wear slacks and nice shirt? Most of time, but I like to look good. I also try to present myself professionally since I represent the library to many of our constituants. I don’t wear ties – don’t like them! My experience also tells me that when I was ready, the position appeared. For some this occurs quickly, others enjoy lingering in their profession by offering valuable service to their community in non-director positions.

This is good and needed.

I’m in my second Library Director position. In between the two, I worked as a classroom-based professor/reference librarian and as a systems librarian. Those two roles were just what I needed between the two director roles. I can honestly say that I’m a much better director this second time round; I needed more experience. Looking back, I’m not even sure I’d want to have worked for me the first time round but it did give some good lessons for this time.

Though Meredith was reflecting on moving from frontline librarian to director, I’m reading this with reflections of moving in other directions. As a Library Director, I periodically think about what it might be like to work as an non-library academic dean or vice-president. Could I ever leave librarianship?

I’m not ready now, but it’s fun to consider. When I’m ready, the position will appear.

Making Things Right

By on October 13, 2010

This year we launched a revised web site for the library and I decided to incorporate new elements that I thought would be beneficial to students. Other library staff were challenged by one of new elements and made their case for not moving ahead. I felt strongly about the element and decided to move forward anyway. How could I act counter to how I would like to lead?

I am responsible for the operation of a community college library. That responsibility includes vision, leadership, staffing, budget, and working directly with the students and faculty. Two important aspects of my job are (1) being able to communicate effectively and (2) being able to admit when I am wrong.

Two recent blog posts inspired me to reflect on the second aspect on making things right. I’ll save my reflection on communication for another time because I believe that “right speech” is probably the most difficult precept to practice. Roy Tennant covered Managing Personal Change with some great strategies that can be applied in many circumstances. In particular, I like learn as you breathe and be grateful. The second post by Seth Godin, Demonstrating Strength, reminds readers to apologize and to offer kindness.

(more…)

%d bloggers like this: