Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MLA Session: You Can Take It With You: Library Leaders with a Passion for Youth Services

This session was sponsored by the Eastern Shore Regional Library and the Library Management Division of MLA.

Panel Members Included:

Audra Caplan, Director, Harford County Public Library, Jim Fish,
Director, Baltimore County Public Library, Kathleen Reif, Director, St.
Mary’s County Public Library, Irene Briggs, Associate Director for
Public Services, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System,
Rachel Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library

The panel members were asked a series of questions about how to develop leadership skills, how to evolve into leadership positions, and once you get there, how not to leave your passion for youth services behind.

The panel members gave some excellent advice for attendees who would like to be in leadership positions, but want to still be active in youth services. They noted that one of the best ways to carry their youth services passion into leadership is by becoming an advocate for it, not only within the library and the library system, but within the community as well. Serving on committees concerning youth and youth services in the community can help to build partnerships and strengthen or establish needed services.

However, they did note that you will have to give up some of your Youth Library duties/activities such as storytimes, everyday programming, etc. because it is impossible to be everywhere at once.

One of the ways the panel members suggested for developing leadership skills, as well as becoming a leader was to get involved. They handed out several resources for becoming involved in both leadership activities and youth services.

One was become more involved in the Maryland Library Association (MLA) by joining the Children's Services Division (CSD), serving on the Blue Crab Award Committee, working with the Teen Interest Group or becoming a participating member of the Library Management Division. Any of this committees would help to enhance both your knowledge about library issues and your leadership skills. For more information

Another way to develop those leadership skills is by applying for and attending the Maryland Library Leadership Institute which is supoprted by the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Library Development and Services (DLDS). It is presented by Becky Schreiber and John Shannon to help librarians identify and develop their skills, as well as create a positive and support network of peers. A small taste of their leadership seminars can be experienced by attending the two day Leading from Any Position I and II workshops sponsored by DLDS in the fall and spring. For more information:

Third, being involved in the Nationwide and Statewide initiatives of the Summer Reading Program, the Birth to Five-Emergent Literacy program, and the marketing campaign, It's Never Too Early assists in providing valuable information and resources about youth issues and services. The Youth Services Specialist for Maryland is Stephanie Shauck. For more information about these initiatives, please contact Stephanie at

Lastly, getting involved on the national level is an excellent way to interwine both of your goals. The Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, is always looking for new members. If you are passionate about Children's Services, this is an organization you should be a part of. The resources that it provides are endlesss. For more information:

If teen advocacy is your focus, then you'll want to become a member of the Young Adult Library Services Association or YALSa, also a division of ALA. YALSA provides an amazing and informative network of resources and people to help guide and educate new and continuing teen services members. For more information:

There are many ways to become active members of both of these national groups including posting on the blogs, serving on a committee, voting in elections, participating in discussion groups, becoming involved in service campaigns, taking online courses, and presenting at a divisional or national conference.

The main point that I took away from this panel was that to become a leader, you need to be involved and you need to be passionate about being involved. And, one you take on a leadership role, the passion just grows from there!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

panel members questions were rocking..
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