Library Leaders

March 30, 2007

Connie Forst reports on Thinking Outside the Borders Leadership Conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — vickiw @ 1:13 pm

Thinking Outside the Borders – By Connie Forst 

If you want to go fast, go alone.If you want to go far, go together. ~African proverb 

Thirty-two librarians from around the world came together near
Champaign, Illinois, from November 7-10, 2006, to participate in a unique international leadership institute focused on meaningful cross-cultural communication about libraries and leadership. In its second year, Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community was sponsored by the Illinois State Library and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and funded by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

I consider myself very fortunate to have been one the Canadian librarians to attend. Librarians from Argentina, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa and the
United States, who represented entry-level to senior management positions in their respective institutions, spent the course of the Institute learning from each other. Our time together was spent at the Allerton House and Conference Centre, located west of Urbana-Champaign near Monticello,
Illinois, where its’ regal gardens and peaceful setting provided a stunning backdrop to our discussions.

Thinking Outside the Borders was a chance for me to challenge my thoughts about leadership, not only within my own borders, but to examine cultural biases as well. I learned so much about other libraries and librarians from around the world. The line-up of speakers reflected the international focus of the program. The speakers included: Mary Ann Mavrinac, Chief Librarian, University of Toronto Mississauga, who spoke of the Campbell Leadership Descriptors; and Carol Brey-Casiano, Director of the El Paso Public Library in Texas and past ALA President , and Ujala Satgoor, from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, spoke on what it means to lead in an international library world. Professor Harry Triandis, from the
University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, increased our awareness of strategies and skills for cross-cultural communication and Tom Clareson, Program Director for New Initiatives (PALINET) from
Pennsylvania, brought our focus to thoughts of disaster preparedness. Barbara Ford, Director of the

Center and Carol Brey-Casiano both spoke on issues surrounding library advocacy. Ms. Brey-Casiano’s top ten steps in being a good leader include: find a good mentor, learn to follow, be visionary, be a good servant, take risks, take care of yourself, maintain a positive attitude, never turn down a leadership opportunity, learn to motivate people effectively, and keep your sense of humour.

While listening to Ujala Satgoor speak I had goose bumps. Her perspective from
South Africa was riveting. Her presentation along with Sandra Rios Balderrama, a consultant from
Arizona, brought to awareness the need and recognition for diversity and multiculturalism in libraries and in our communities. Participants were asked to list behaviours that annoyed us that may be culturally related, and then to list which behaviours made us feel better in dealing with those situations. These exercises allowed us to create a list of desirable leadership traits that crossed cultural boundaries. A few of the common traits that our group came up with were: integrity, honesty, taking risks, being fair, strong values, emotional intelligence, flexibility and diplomacy.

We also used a role-playing game called Pamoja to understand different cultural values and how that influences interactions. This lively game allowed participants to interact, share information in different ways, and to see things from another perspective. One of the responsibilities among participants was also to create a international partnership project with one other library. The idea behind this was that the two institutions involved it would serve to maintain some long term ideas and continue the institute beyond the time being in
Illinois. The projects were vast and ranged from exchanging information and expertise, to exchanging staff and creating sister libraries.

Our days were full. As we shared meals together and our sessions together in the evenings we told stories, learned about each other’s countries and libraries, and, in some cases, talked well into the night. The institute was a way for us to network with librarians from other countries and to see how we can help each other as we face similar issues across borders. When we looked at the question of what elements, characteristics and values are necessary for a leader to be effective in a global, multicultural and cross-cultural environment, there was no simple or easy answer. Our own leadership, as leaders within our institutions and communities, evolves and continues to grow over time. I came back from the Institute with enthusiasm, questions, and optimism. While my day to day focus may be local, my experience from attending the Institute definitely stretches beyond and causes me to think outside of those borders. Thinking Outside the Borders was an amazing experience and it is one that will guide my leadership path for many years to come.   


March 1, 2007

CIO School – IT Leadership Development Program at Ryerson

Filed under: career — connie @ 10:14 am

I just happened upon the IT Leadership Development Program at Ryerson University here in Toronto.  It is a three-part program (each part being an intense 4 days) meant to take IT managers to the CIO level.  I’ve always thought that librarians should also be able to fill the role of chief information officer of an organization.  I don’t see anything in the information or forms that says an IT background is essential for the program, although a CV must be submitted.   It is too late to be part of the current cohort (it started in January), but it looks to be an ongoing program. 


February 26, 2007


Filed under: leadership,library profession,mentoring — wenlib @ 8:59 am

Inspired by our talk of being an aid to the next generation, I recently volunteered to be a mentor to a student at Western.  (That sudden whooshing sound is years flying by – it was stunning to realize that it’s been 17 years since I graduated from UWO! ACK!)

 I had to smile when the student asked me (in slightly woeful tones) if she really had to join associations and schmooze as she had heard at school. Although I can remember feeling the same reluctance at that point in my career, I couldn’t honestly tell her that she can cruise through her career without becoming involved in the larger life of her profession. There are *lots* of people who do (too many), but the benefits you gain from being able to share with others who share the same perspective, challenges and context are so significant that I think you do yourself and your employer a disservice if you don’t participate.

 Rob Hyndman is going to be speaking to TALL next month on Web 2.0 – I think the new technologies are fantastic, and I’m eagerly learning everything I can about them. But in the end, they are merely a new forum – a new way to transmit the impulse to share.

We need to continue to encourage that impulse, regardless of the form it takes.


February 1, 2007

Library Leadership in a World Community

Filed under: events,leadership — connie @ 12:19 pm

It’s too late for us to apply, but thought I would point out this event being hosted by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records:  Thinking Outside the Borders: Library Leadership in a World Community , February 18-20, 2007 being held in Phoenix and aimed at Mid-level to Senior Library Managers.  This three-day program is limited to 15 librarians from Arizona and 15 librarians from countries other than the U.S.   Librarians from outside the U.S. who complete the program receive a $1,000 debit card as scholarship to off-set travel costs.

The program is a pre-conference workshop to Transborder Library Forum 2007  being held in Tempe, Arizona February 20-24, 2007 by the Arizona State University Libraries.

It sounds to me a lot like Vicki’s Library Leaders Institute, with added emphasis on global thinking. 


January 9, 2007

The Library at Night – book discussion has a home!

Filed under: Uncategorized — wenlib @ 12:12 pm

Thanks to Judy’s generosity, the discussion of The Library at Night will be held at FIS (Faculty of Information Studies), in Room 728.  The address is 140 St. George, an easy walk from the St. George station.

It’s not too late to sign up if you wish to join the discussion. 

Even if you can’t join us, I’d encourage you to have a look at this book. It’s engaging and provocative – I found myself scribbling notes in the margins, which is something slightly sacreligious to me!  But I HAD to react.


January 8, 2007

Grooming Next-Generation Leaders

Filed under: leadership — burtond @ 1:09 pm

The recent Harvard Business School HBS Working Knowledge article entitled Grooming Next-Generation Leaders raises some interesting points that could be applicable across many organizations, including libraries. One of the points that it stresses is the need for the potential leader to see beyond their area of expertise and understand various aspects of the business.


December 13, 2006

Invitation for Comments on Mid-Career Library Leadership Training

Filed under: leadership — lauriescott @ 10:18 am

I thought this invitation from CLIR would be of interest to our library leaders group.



December 5, 2006

A Toronto Librarians’ Book Discussion

Filed under: Uncategorized — wenlib @ 9:18 am

Based on my earlier posting about The Library at night, Connie decided to buy a copy of the book, and hit on the idea of getting a bunch together to discuss it. We decided to issue the invitation before the holidays, so that loved ones could purchase copies for those interested in attending. 

Please join us!

When: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 7:00 pm

What: A discussion of The Library at Night, by Alberto Manguel

Where: To be announced (somewhere in Toronto. locale to be determined by the size of the group)

Registration: You can register via or via email to

November 27, 2006

Mentoring is a Whole New Ball Game! with Caitlin Williams

Filed under: mentoring — connie @ 1:58 pm

The education institute  is offering an audioconference on mentoring this Friday. 

Mentoring is a Whole New Ball Game!
with Caitlin Williams.
Friday, December 1, 2006
1 p.m. ET
10 a.m. PT


Have you been interested in mentoring? Have you been wanting to share your wisdom and savvy with others? Are you excited about encouraging others to join our field? Or, do you wish you had a mentor, yourself?

Mentoring is the fastest growing activity in institutions across North America. The 8Rs program is pursuing this through its Info*Nation Web site – not your average approach for attracting the gifted and the creative. The Partnership is rebuilding the Web sites of provincial and territorial associations across Canada to develop a fresh Career Centre that will be an important new tool nationally. These are but the tip of the iceberg.

Learn about new options and models for mentoring and how you can be part of this exciting new initiative.

For more information, see the full session details.

If you do take part, we’d love to have see report back here on this blog!

November 24, 2006

Keeping up-to-date with RSS, blogs, etc

Filed under: technology — burtond @ 6:32 pm

Hi everyone:

I have several purposes for posting today:

1) to see if I can actually do it!

2) I’ve just been introduced to Bloglines and discovered that there is an RSS feed on the Library Leaders blog. For those of you who might be like me and didn’t know anything about this,  is a great alerting tool for keeping up-to-date on new postings in your favourite blogs.

It’s very easy to register with bloglines to set up your own acct.  Then go into your favourite blog and look for the little orange icon (might have little lines in it or say RSS, XML etc).  Right click on the icon and then paste it into the box under the “Add” feature in your Bloglines acct.  Blogs with new postings will be bolded in your list.  Look for the little orange box on the Library Leaders blog and you can get the RSS feed.

3) I went to an excellent SLA Toronto meeting last night on RSS feeds etc and one of the speakers was “our own” Connie Crosby.   She gave a fabulous talk on wikis and some of the great collaborative work you can use them for.  For instance their entire presentation was done via wiki and you can view it at   It is full of wonderful links and many many things I have never heard of before!

Has anyone used a wiki for association type activity – ie for posting minutes, sharing news, directory info, etc?


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