Friday, July 24, 2009

ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, July 10th-14th, 2009

I was privileged to attend the ALA Conference in Chicago with my co-worker, Maryland Appel. We are both from the Allegany County Library System. We arrived on the afternoon of July 10th, after driving to Pittsburgh from Cumberland, and left Chicago to return home on the morning of July 14th. I say it was a privilege because I attended the Empowerment Conference sessions, and feel it was a benefit to me particularly since it was geared to library support staff, like branch managers. I became a branch manager in January, and feel that the sessions on personnel management and encouragement were the most help to me. On our first day there, Saturday, we intended to attend the Welcoming Breakfast and Empowerment Kickoff Breakfast which featured Al Gini. His session was on "Lincoln's Ten Critical Tasks of Leadership". Unfortunately, because we received the wrong directions from several of the security staff at McCormick Place, we arrived after the session began, but we were able to sit in for part of it. The second session I attended on Saturday was "Feeling Good, Becoming Healthier, Increased Energy and More". The speaker was Jill S. Popovich, a physical therapist. During that session Ms. Popovich shared easy effective ways that library staff could improve their posture while working, stretch obscure muscles that we all use every day but not enough, and increase our energy while at work. As a consultant, she visited many libraries to observe the normal working day of library staff and developed her own program for assisting staff. The next session I attended was, "Leadership for Library Staff." The speaker was Kevin Dudeney. He had many good points in his presentation, including, "Stuff can be managed but people must be lead", supported with the following main topics: Model the way for your staff, Inspire a shared vision, Challenge the process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. All of these were supported with more information and examples of leadership among staff, including being visible and and the differences between being a leader and a manager.
There was lots of food for thought, and I hope I can put into practice some of his suggestions. The next session I attended was, "Leading From Any Position: Opportunities to Contribute to Your Librarie's Success". The speaker was Maureen Sullivan. While I was familiar with the Leading From Any Position term, I had not been to any workshops about it. Basically, Maureen discussed desirable leadership qualities, and gave some guidelines for empowering staff with confidence to become leaders based on; emotional intelligence, self awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills as a leader. After that session, Maryland and I went to the exhibit hall for a short period of time prior to returning to our hotel to freshen up before we had to be back at McCormick Place to take the shuttle to the ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash which was outstanding. More later!

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