In this edition of Thinking Out Loud, George and Joan and their guest Paula Singer talk about the nature of library employer-employee relationships in the 21st century. Their discussion comes out of an article Paula wrote for her newsletter (PDF format) on How Human Resources Makes Your Library Tick. The idea of lifelong employment is a thing of the past. Nothing is static anymore. Librarians need to be prepared to learn new things and be amenable to take on tasks not in their job description. What does all of this mean for the future? What can we all do to make ourselves better employees – and employers? Listen and learn!
Overcoming the stress caused by continual change seems to be a major battle for many of us—leaders and potential leaders alike—so the lessons Paula Singer offers in her new full-day Infopeople workshop are designed to help attendees develop the tools needed to engage in positive and long-lasting changes which improve library services.
“Building Leadership Skills: Leading Change,” which is underway and continuing in California libraries through February 25, 2009, is the latest offering in Infopeople’s Eureka! Leadership Program series, and “Leading Change” will remain available as a contract workshop through Infopeople for those who are not able to attend the currently scheduled sessions.
“Change is inevitable. It’s ongoing. It’s critical to learn how to lead change because we’re living in an age of permanent white water, and we all need the skills to help ourselves and others deal with change successfully,” Singer acknowledged during a recent conversation.
“Leading Change” has two basic parts, she added: “We look at the internal aspects of change, how we handle the emotional challenges created by any change, as well as how to make change happen.”
The rapid rate of technological change, the existence of four distinct generations of staff in the library, and external factors including the worsening state of the economy all contribute to the pressure that leaders and other members of library staff are facing. Singer provides tools and improves students’ skills by guiding workshop participants through their own change projects. By engaging in conversations with their fellow students and learning from what the instructor brings to the classroom, participants are working through the steps that will enable them to lead their projects from successful start-up through successful implementation. They return to their libraries with plans which can be explained and promoted in positive ways and immediately applied.
Those completing the day-long workshop “learn different ways of dealing with resistance to change. They also create a vision for their project and devise a message to communicate it from the head and the heart. They learn how to create a sense of urgency about the project, assess the barriers, and create strategies to overcome them—how to sell it, how to implement it, and how to sustain it,” Singer concluded.
N.B.: Registration ($75 per person) for the latest offerings of Eureka! workshops is continuing on the Infopeople website under the heading “Building Leadership Skills.” Instructors include Steve Albrecht; Stacey Aldrich; Joan Frye Williams and George Needham; Suzanne Merritt; and Marie Radford. Sessions of “Leading Change” are scheduled for Buena Park Library District (2/17/09); San Diego County Library Headquarters (2/18/09); Arden-Dimick Library in Sacramento (2/20/09); San Francisco Public Library (2/23/09); and Fresno—Woodward Park (2/25/09).