In my last post I discussed my “dream jobs” and what skills I will need to gain to be qualified to take them on. I established 4 main areas that I want to expand my knowledge of. Each of these areas will help to prepare me to pursue a position as a Digital Services Manager or library director. They are:
- Management Experience
- Community, Advocacy, and Politics
Below I have laid out the specific steps I plan to take to prepare myself for my possible future careers.
1. Technology: Take additional classes in web design and technology trends in libraries. This is important to both of the positions that I selected because a large part of library services are based in new and upcoming technologies. In the last year, my system has adopted 3 new digital services for delivering print and media to our patrons. I expect that this kind of service will only grow, and understanding the difference between a company or service worth providing vs. one that is not, is critical. Understanding web design and how to create an effective webpage goes hand in hand with this as well. The ability to understand the mechanics of web design, right down to how to write the code, is a skill I wish to possess. I am a firm believer that a manager should understand the ins and outs of each part of what he or she oversees so as to better manage the people and environments they work in.
What skills I currently possess: Graphic design principles and process-Adobe CS 6, in depth knowledge of Windows and iOS, OverDrive, Hoopla, Freegal, Zinio, and many other databases, basics of web design
What skills I need to improve: Web Design and website maintenance, social media for library purposes, a better/more in depth understanding of trends in library technology
How I will accomplish this: San Jose State University Digital Services and Emerging Technologies Post-Graduate Certificate
This certificate offers classes that focus on the technological aspects of library service and include Online Social Networking: Technology and Tools and Information Technology Tools and Applications (http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/programs/post-masters-certificate/courses/digital-services-and-emerging-technologies).
University of Toledo Web Design Workplace Certificate
This certificate focuses on many different web design approaches including DreamWeaver Web Page Development, Flash Web Animation, Internet Design and Publishing, Blogging and Social Networking (http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/programs/certificates/web_design.html).
2. Management Experience: Expand upon my management experience within my current library system by obtaining a position as a branch or department manager. This would allow me the opportunity to develop my own team and better develop my management style. While I am currently in a good place to learn from the branch manager that I assist, I do not have full control of the operations of the branch and as such, miss out on a large part of what truly managing a branch means.
What skills I currently possess: Assistant Manager of the Sanger Branch Library – scheduling, evaluations, training, hiring, reference, managing workflow, planning and implementing programs, weeding, floating, Encore Decision Center
What skills I need to gain: Building operations, relative use, grant writing
How I will accomplish this: I will maintain active participation in many different forums, both within and outside of TLCPL, so as to increase my exposure to different types of management and experiences. I am actively working to improve my management skills through the use of various webinars, Manager Tools, participation in committees, and various TLCPL trainings. I have been/am a part of numerous committees within my library system, both short and long term, all of which provide me with glimpses into various aspects of library work. I recently joined our Financial Literacy Committee. This committee in particular is important because we are not only planning and implementing programs across our library system, but applying for grants and funding from outside sources. Grant writing is a new area for me and I am only beginning to grasp the work that goes into it. However, there is no better way for me to learn than by working with the grant writing experts of my system. I am also part of another committee whose sole purpose is to facilitate better communication across the non-public service departments in my library system (i.e. Marketing, IT, etc.). Facilitating effective communication across a library system is crucial to what makes a good manager/director because it allows for a more content, less frustrated workforce. Again, I am only beginning to understand the intricacies of working across a large system such as TLCPL, but being a part of these committees is helping me to understand how to effectively manage people.
Additionally, Connect @PLA allows LIS professionals to connect, learn, brainstorm, and problem solve together through message boards (http://www.ala.org/pla/connect). By taking advantage of the opportunity to ask for assistance outside of my library system, I can learn from the experience of others.
3. Community, Advocacy, and Politics- Attend local and national conferences, get involved in library advocacy, and create opportunities to network. From what I have witnessed within my own library system, a lot of what makes our director so effective is his ability to be politically-savvy and socially conscious. When local issues arise, our director is often the first to speak with the media to make the library’s voice heard and understood. He is cognoscente of library trends across the profession and is always challenging his managers and staff to think outside the box and pay attention to what is happening in the LIS world.
What skills I currently possess: I am an active volunteer in my community, although not necessarily with library-related activities. I am also a member of the American Library Association, Public Library Association, Young Adult Library Services Association, Association for Library Service to Children, and Ohio Library Council and have attended conferences in the past.
What skills I need to gain: Increased exposure within the library world through publication, library-specific advocacy work
How I will accomplish this: I hope to join an area board of trustees to increase my community presence. I would also like to start writing for PLA’s online blog (http://publiclibrariesonline.org/contribute/), and eventually submit articles to PLA and other journals (http://www.ala.org/pla/publications/publiclibraries/writeforpl). By continuing to attend LIS conferences such as ALA’s yearly conference and Midwinter Meeting, as well as the Ohio Library Council’s various conferences and meetings, I will give myself a chance to network within the larger LIS community, hopefully forging connections that will help to further my understanding of the different ways in which libraries can be run.
ALA also has many different ways to get involved with library advocacy including their Legislative Action Center, Advocacy University, and various online advocacy courses (http://www.ala.org/onlinelearning/issues/advocacy).
4. Business: Earn a certificate in business.
What skills I currently possess: I have 10 years of experience in a library system, and an additional 2 in a retail setting. I have been in management for 2 years across my different jobs. While I possess on-the-job experience, I lack formal training.
What skills I need to gain: knowledge of investing, business principles, human resources,
How I will accomplish this: Business Management Workplace Certificate from the University of Toledo
This course includes classes on business principles, workplace management, and human resources development. It would give me an excellent base of knowledge to build from (http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/programs/certificates/business_management.html).
No matter which direction I choose to move in my career in, there is still a lot of formal and in-formal training I hope to obtain. If I follow the programs laid-out here, I will be confident and informed enough to take on either position.
Advocacy. (n.d.). American Library Association. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.ala.org/ onlinelearning/issues/advocacy
Become a Contributor. (n.d.). Public Libraries Online Become a Contributor Comments. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/contribute/
Connect @ PLA (Public Library Association). (n.d.). American Library Association. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.ala.org/pla/connect
Digital Services and Emerging Technologies | San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. (n.d.). shawn. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/programs/post-masters-certificate/courses/digital-services-and-emerging-technologies
The University of Toledo. (n.d.). – Web Design Workplace Certificate. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/programs/certificates/ web_design.html
The University of Toledo. (n.d.). – Business Management Workplace Certificate. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.utoledo.edu/dl/programs/ certificates/business_management.html
Write for Public Libraries. (n.d.). American Library Association. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from http://www.ala.org/pla/publications/publiclibraries/ writeforpl