Karl Dean remembers his childhood public library as a place where “you could go to dream.” Recreating that experience resulted in Limitless Libraries, which brought public library resources into Nashville schools to enable every student to pursue their dreams.
Government services, such as public libraries, are often told to run their organizations “like a business.” However, when a start-up takes a risk and fails, it’s considered part of the business’s evolution. Whereas when a library takes a risk and fails, the entire program can be seen as wasteful. Can the director of a library afford to don the black mock turtleneck of a visionary entrepreneur like Steve Jobs and still stay employed?
We look to our leaders to enable us to get things done. We look to them for vision and inspiration, but we also want leaders who make progress and get our organization to the place where the vision becomes reality. What sometimes gets overlooked is the need to create a workplace where people want to be while all the work is getting done.
Mission Bell Media (MBM), a new publisher with a laser-like focus on leadership, took one step further into the public eye, debuting its official website on April 22. MBM is the brainchild of veteran academic publisher Rolf Janke, who founded SAGE Reference, an imprint of SAGE Publications, in 2001 and led it from three titles to nearly 300 over the course of a dozen years. Mission Bell Media combines Janke’s two passions: his own longtime study of what creates compelling leaders and his 30-plus years in academic publishing, which, he said, gave him a unique perspective on librarians leading change in academic libraries and paving the way for the next generation.
It took me decades TRULY to understand the qualities that make for great leadership. I am still surprised at how slowly I realized that the key strengths of great leaders are not command, control, or management skills. A great leader must have the ability to spot and hire excellent people; build a passionate, committed team; liberate everyone on that team; and then trust them with the autonomy and authority to make decisions, innovate, and test their inspirations and ideas in practice.
Library leaders at all levels are, and will be, in great demand in the coming days and years. Our profession is caught in the societal turbulence that grips us all. Budgets are tight, debts are huge, and technology is forcing change in all facets of society. These challenges will demand energetic and wise leadership if our profession is to prosper. What qualities will best enable our leaders to lead successfully for themselves, their libraries, and the profession?
All of the advanced warnings were precise and dire; a mega storm was about to batter the City of Wishmere with torrential rains and gale force winds. The community’s Emergency Preparedness Task Force met earlier in the day to review and revamp its community disaster strategy, in light of the unusually severe weather forecast, and […]
Kouzes and Posner gave us the “ten truths of leadership,” and that’s important to know, but a list of the top things you should avoid doing as a leader can be just as important to your success.
The library profession’s advocacy efforts have had very little impact. Why we have not addressed this obvious problem more aggressively is a mystery. Of course, there have been some successes, especially at the local level. They have been good enough to show us that the great reservoir of public support for public libraries is still full and can be tapped. Still, the profession simply has not found a way to tap that public support to influence the political process.