NJLA Program: Notes from: “How DO They Do It All? Tips from Effective Library Leaders”

April 28, 2006 at 11:56 am 2 comments

A big thanks to Kathy Schalk-Greene, Mount Laurel Library for organizing this program, inviting me to be on it, moderating it, and sharing her great notes with us! -pete

Notes from: “How DO They Do It All? Tips from Effective Library Leaders”
NJLA Conference, April 25, 2006 Sponsored by the NJLA Member Services Committee
A 50 minute program…

Speakers:

Peter Bromberg (bromberg@sjrlc.org) is the Program Development Coordinator for the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative in Gibbsboro, NJ.

Leslie Burger (lburger@princetonlibrary.org) has directed the Princeton Public Library since 1999 and is the president-elect of the American Library Association.

Mary Martin (martin@bccls.org) is currently working as Assistant Director of Glen Rock Public Library, a small public library in Bergen County.

Kurt W. Wagner (WagnerK@wpunj.edu) coordinates Library Systems and web management at the David and Lorraine Cheng Library at William Paterson University.

Q1: Was there any decision you made or skill you learned early in your career that has served you well?

Leslie:

  • Don’t wear a skirt while working at a library with glass floors
  • Always ask why
  • Never take no for an answer
  • Continually challenge yourself
  • Be flexible

Mary:

  • Don’t let fear rule you
  • If you make a mistake, you don’t die
  • Don’t assume that everyone knows less that you do (It’s hard to ask for help if you think you’re perfect)
  • Thank people for what they do

Q2: What role does technology play in how you do what you do?

Kurt:

  • Help others to understand the interrelated nature of these systems in libraries
  • Always learn something new

Pete:

  • I use technology to control and manage my time
  • Not an early adopter … finally got a cell phone when I saw the benefit to me.
  • Five specific technologies that make my life better:
  1. GoToMyPC to access my desktop from anywhere
  2. Yahoo calendar and listservs
  3. RSS Feeds to scan headlines on 100+ blogs/sites (I use firefox live bookmarks and have just fallen in love with blogbridge.)
  4. FURL – great for project management, reading lists, general bookmarking and serendipitous discoveries!
  5. AIM Chat for online meetings .
  6. (Thought of this one late) Google Desktop–the lifesaving app for the perpetually disorganized. I love you Google Desktop. Don’t ever leave me.


Q3: Do you have a life outside your job? How do you find a balance between your personal and professional lives?

Mary:

  • You don’t find balance on the street like loose change
  • Most choices can be revisited later
  • Sometimes you can’t help being out of balance

Kurt:

  • Always have a sense of proportion
  • Have activities outside of work
  • Don’t worry about this too much

Q4: How do you foster good communication with your staff?

Pete

  • You have to model good communication and show a willingness to listen without judgment
  • Realize that all communication is good, even “negative” feedback … it’s always better to know.
  • Proper response to negative feedback … “Thank you” (props to Pat Wagner for that tip)
  • Ask for what you need
  • Be fact-based (rather than judgmental) in your speech to others
  • Provide options… “where do we go from here?”
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt. We’re all passionate and deeply concerned about the health of our libraries.

Leslie:

  • Send staff wide emails (even if you’re not sure they check it)
  • Communicate in many different ways
  • Library has an internal blog (encourage others to make this the default home page)
  • Lots of meetings (staff wide, department, librarians, task based)
  • Face book of pictures and names of all library staff, trustees, Friends, volunteers (on the blog, in a notebook in the staff room)
  • Write a personal blog (Leslie’s is de-mystifying the ALA presidency)

Q5: Do you ever feel overwhelmed? What do you when that happens?

Mary:

  • First, freak out
  • Afterwards, get a grip
  • Then, prioritize what needs to be done
  • And after that identify those things you can do while trying to avoid the things that need to get done

Pete:

  • I generally feel some amount of feeling overwhelmed. I go home more aware of everything that didn’t get done, but I’ve learned to manage this much better
  • Have other people in your life who can help keep things in perspective
  • Exercise regularly


Q6: What single piece of advice would you give to a librarian at the beginning of their career?

Kurt:

  • Learn to communicate well
  • Avoid energy vampires

Leslie:

  • Be open to new possibilities
  • Be willing to change your route
  • Conquer your fear, let it go
  • Never stop learning

——————————-
See more NJLA program summaries at the official NJLA blog: http://blog.njla.org

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Entry filed under: Conferences, Presentations. Tags: .

Educational Role of Libraries More NJLA Redux: Fantastic LGBTI Roundtable program!

2 Comments

  • 1. BK  |  April 28, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Can anyone who was at this program comment on what Kurt meant by “energy vampires”?

  • 2. Peter Bromberg  |  April 29, 2006 at 8:27 am

    Hi BK,

    I believe Kurt was referring to people who drain energy from others. Here’s a good description from Dr. Judith Orloff:

    “[Energy Vampires] leave you feeling stressed out. Or guilty. Or exhausted down to your very last molecule…and obnoxious or meek, they come in all forms. The sob sister, for one, always considers herself the victim. The world is always against her, and she’ll recount every horrible thing that has happened to her, wallowing in every perceived slight. The charmer is a constant talker or joke-teller who has to be the center of attention. The blamer, on the other hand, doles out endless servings of guilt. And then there’s the drama queen, the co-worker who claims she almost died from a high fever or the neighbor who lives in extremes of emotion—life is unbelievably good or horrifically bad.”

    - from article, “Energy Vampires” (see rest of article for good tips in dealing with energy vampires. First tip: WALK AWAY!)


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