Core Dialogue with Directors Interest Group

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✉ Send an email to ALA-CoreDialogueWithDirectors@ConnectedCommunity.org to start a discussion or share a file.

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Purpose: Provides a venue for directing questions and concerns towards current and retired directors for open discussion. Possible topics could include leadership, library school education, major issues facing directors, preparing for an administrative role, positives and negatives of directing a library, and the thought processes of directors in day-to-day operations. The goal is to provide a group where directors and the curious alike can equally gain from the back and forth discussions, and educate people in the roles and experiences of directors.

This group is part of Core's Leadership and Management Section.

Portraits of three Core members with caption Become a Member: Find Your Home: Core.

 

  • 1.  Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Feb 25, 2022 09:53 AM

    Dear Colleagues--

     

    We would like to introduce ourselves as the new co-chairs of the Dialog with Directors Interest Group. Shelly McCoy is the Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Space Planning at the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press and Denise Shorey is the Director of Archives and Library Services at Franklin College, Indiana.

     

    We are glad to see a variety of library types and positions represented in this Interest Group, and we look forward to engaging in discussions throughout the year about the pitfalls and pleasures of being a library director or in senior library administration. On that note, let's get the conversation going with this question, "How did you know that you were ready to be a director?"

     

    Add the following email address to your Contacts to send responses --and other discussion questions you have -- to the Interest Group directly. ALA-CoreDialogueWithDirectors@ConnectedCommunity.org.


    Sincerely, Denise and Shelly


    Shelly McCoy

    Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Space Planning

    University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press

    302-831-6363  |  610-329-9328 (for urgent matters)


  • 2.  RE: Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Mar 03, 2022 12:43 PM
    I've had this message in my inbox for a little while now because I knew I wanted to respond. But I don't know if know the answer to the question!

    I distinctly remember a day a few years ago when I said "I want to be a director someday." I remember being afraid to speak it out loud. I remember wondering if I was ready to take on that responsibility, but also really wanting the chance to make decisions that I thought were in the best interests of my library and its people.

    I've been a director for a very short amount of time - I spent a year as director of a small academic library and for six months now I have been the director of a mid-size public library. I have a LOT to learn, and there are parts of this job that are very different than what I had imagined. There are certainly days where I wonder if I made the right choice.

    I think the answer is "I'm still not sure if I'm ready to be a director." But I'm out here doing the work every day and making the best decisions I can!

    I'd be interested to see how other folks knew they wanted or were ready to take on the responsibilities of directorship.


    ===
    Shanna Hollich, MLIS
    shollich@gmail.com
    Twitter: @srhlib
    Pronouns: they/them or she/her





  • 3.  RE: Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Mar 03, 2022 02:27 PM

    This is a great question, Shanna!

     

    I remember dreaming about being a dean or director someday while I was in library school (2009-2010). Even though I am now a director of a small branch campus library, I did not apply thinking I was ready; in fact, I thought it was a reach. But, I had been laid off due to COVID in May of 2020, so I thought, why not try?

     

    Lo and behold, in October of 2020, I began my first directorship. It's definitely a small pond here, however, I will know every aspect of library operations when I leave this role for whatever's next. Plus, I have an amazing boss, and that makes all the difference in the world for me.

     

    I am just finishing my second master's this semester (MA in Transformational Leadership from Northeastern Seminary), but my brain is already skipping to thoughts about doctoral studies and maybe being a dean someday. Who knows?!

     

    Kellie Barbato, MLS (she/her)

    Director, Lineberger Memorial Library

    Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary

    Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia

    https://www.lr.edu/ltss | https://www.lr.edu/columbia

    1.803.461.3220 (office) | kellie.barbato@lr.edu

    LRR & LTSS logo 75

    "Tolle lege, tolle lege..." – St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

     






  • 4.  RE: Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Mar 13, 2022 08:42 PM

    I'm really impressed by those who dreamed of being a director, or knew that it was in their future. I took the "slow path" to this role, moving from frontline reference/instruction librarian to gradually more responsible positions, but being at the helm was not in my mind, perhaps because I worked at large research institutions and could not see myself as an ARL dean. A happy life circumstance took me to senior library administration, and that's when I began to realize the truth of what I'd always heard from colleagues: that running a library could be fun. I also knew that I had the experience and vision to help transform a library and provide good leadership for library staff. I really enjoy the fact that being at a small institution means a flatter organization, fewer hoops, and the ability to implement my ideas.

     

    Denise.

    --

    Denise M Shorey, MLS  |  Director of Archives and Library Services  |  she/her/hers

    B.F. Hamilton Library

    Schedule a meeting with me

     

    Franklin College

    101 Branigin Boulevard, Franklin, Indiana 46131-2623

    FranklinCollege.edu  |  library.franklincollege.edu  |  dshorey@franklincollege.edu  |  317.738.8160

    AA9B6A3A-2CBD-40F7-AAB2-5FDA5D55193E

     






  • 5.  RE: Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Mar 15, 2022 07:47 AM

    For 8 years or so, I never thought I'd want to be a library director, but then some things happened at a library I previously worked at that made me think I would like to help determine what the library would do and where the library would go. Up to that point, I had also participated in various leadership roles, such as leading projects, ALA's emerging leaders, and ILEAD USA. That's when I decided that maybe I could be a library director. I've been a University Librarian for 3.5 years now and have really enjoyed helping move my library and institution forward and making positive changes for our students. I'm also at a very small institution so most of my day is spent still doing librarian things rather than administrator things (best of both worlds).


    Bree

     

    Breanne Kirsch

    University Librarian

    Bishop Mueller Library, Briar Cliff University

    3303 Rebecca Street, Sioux City, IA 51104-2324

    712-279-5451 | Office

    Breanne.Kirsch@briarcliff.edu

    She/Her/Hers

     






  • 6.  RE: Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Mar 14, 2022 01:09 PM
    Hi all, I can say that I knew that I was ready to be a member of senior administration when I kept wanting more responsibility, bigger picture challenges and bigger picture impact. Now, after being in senior administration for over five years,  I can say that I am ready to become a Library Director/Dean because  I have seen the inside workings of the Library and how we fit in the campus and I am not afraid. I am energized by ALL of the staff and ALL of the work of the Library, not just in one division or one area, so what better way to advocate for and continually transform the Library on an academic campus than by leading as Dean/Director.

    Shelly

    Shelly McCoy

    Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Space Planning

    University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press

    302-831-6363  |  610-329-9328 (for urgent matters)

    library.udel.edu

    smccoy@udel.edu

     



    ------------------------------
    Shelly McCoy
    Associate University Librarian for Communication and Space Planning
    University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press
    She/Her/Hers
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Tell us how you knew you were ready to be a director

    Posted Mar 03, 2022 09:08 PM
    Edited by Nick Tepe Mar 03, 2022 09:08 PM

    For me the moment I knew I was ready to be a director was when I realized that ideas I had gleaned from coworkers, articles, and direct experience could benefit whatever library I had the opportunity to lead, and that my colleagues were already looking to me for help in making those ideas happen. It was a shift from knowing that I could help to communicate a strong vision for what libraries could be to understanding that I really could lead people in making that vision a reality. I'm the sort of person who would be working to persuade co-workers or superiors to make changes that would make my organization better from whatever position I'm in, but I realized that as a director I would be able to more directly make those changes and support my team as we all worked towards those goals. 

    Nerd moment here, but I always think about a scene from  the West Wing where the president tells Sam Seaborn to "look at the whole board." I knew I was ready to be a director when I realized I could see the whole board.



    ------------------------------
    Nicholas Tepe
    Director
    Athens County Public Libraries
    He/Him/His
    ------------------------------