Association of Research Libraries-Leadership Career Development Program

Greetings from Houston, Texas!

One of the advantages of being a Librarian a the University of Notre Dame is that I get to participate in professional development opportunities that will shape my Career. My Cohort are members from Stanford University, Library of Congress, MIT, University of Michigan, University of Houston, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Penn State, Texas A&M, University of Kansas & the University of Nebraska. We are employees of ARL Libraries with the intention of being a Dean, Director, or University Librarian at one of the ARL Institutions in the coming years.

Since January of 2011, we are getting an Education of a Life time. I have a Mentor by the name of Ms. Julene Butler, University Librarian-Brigham Young University. She invited me last Spring to spend a week “shadowing her” in order to learn how to be an influential library leader in a research institution. I was not a “fly on the fall” Mentee with her. I actually engaged her Provost, and Library Executive Team in a very purposeful way and I am changed because of the experience. I started the program knowing full well I am desiring a leadership role, but now I know for sure I want it.

What I took away from my education experience today? A quote from Neil Herriot (1997) Book entitled: “Selecting for Change: How will personnel and selection psychology survive” in International Handbook of Selection and Assessment:

“First, flexibility and adaptibility in technical and social competencies, attitudes to work and task and non-task related behavior will be called for.  As work roles will themselves become transient, assessment criteria for selection will widen from being the evaluation specific technical competencies, to the assessment of flexibility as a psychological – behavioral construct.”

Academic Research Libraries today needs employees who are:

Emotionally Intelligent (inter-personal skills that hasn’t been really recognized in some of our libraries); Emotional Intelligence tied very closely to to Organizational Culture; High-level technology skill sets, Assessment (being able to determine who has the skills, and where do we get such employees; Continuous Learning Acumen, actively participate and engaging the accountibility processes, Changeability skills: recruitment and job content will change throughout my career.

According to Peter F. Drucker (Management Challenges in the 21st Century (New York, 1999): “Knowledge workers will have to be managed as if they were volunteers. They are paid to be sure. But knowledge workers have mobility.”

A thought provoking reflection question that was asked of us this afternoon: “Who in your employee pool has a level of adaptibility and is continuing their professional education?”  Finally, I learned today that in ARL Libraries, there is a huge movement towards “Employee Appraisal” (Getting away from how good you worked as a Librarian last year, but a model that examines how you are progressing on your goals (SMART goals) right now!  This model allows for the possibility of raising the “salary floor.”

On Tuesday, we were at the University of Houston Libraries all day to which we heard and learned from a Powerhouse of a Library Leader: Ms. Dana Rooks, Dean of Libraries (she raised 25 million dollars for her Libraries one year), her Associate Vice Chancellor (Associate Vice President for Planning), her Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for University Relations, and finally last but certainly not the least, Chancellor & President of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator! Talk about Powerful Expressions of Leadership that transformed their institution within a couple of years.

Everyone was on message (Branding) and honest to goodness level of tension exists, and yet they move forward towards “Tier I” status. Dr. Khator spoke about the “Non-Negotiables”—“This is where we are going to go”; items that Library Leaders will not negotiate under any circumstances.  Dr. Khator shared with us boldly that she started with 12 Deans & eventually onlu 4 of them remained a part of her administration.   “It is important to not get stuck in Transformation–you can’t do everything at the same time.” As a new leader, one should asked, “the questions that no one would normally asked.  Her motivation is keeping her “Fire in her Belly” as a framework to staying on task with the items you are going to accomplish. One of ARL’s premiere consultants is Ms. De Etta Jones who is working with the University of Houston Library employees understanding “Emotional Intelligence and Organization Culture. ” Since the Hesburgh Libraries are moving forward in our Strategic Planning efforts, it would be great to bring De Etta to Hesburgh Libraries at Notre Dame for a Professional Development opportunity!

One of my favorite Librarian Colleagues from Indiana, Mr. James Mullins, University Librarian and Dean of Purdue University Libraries is a Change Agent in my profession. He gave my Cohort an invaluable lesson on “Campus Engagement in E-Research, Data Preservation, and Curation.” This presentation made me realize more that I need to engage my librarian colleague, Eric Morgan more for his insight on this expertise and also to make contact with Library Leaders for insight as I develop my Career in Leadership..

That’s it for now……….Leslie



About Leslie L Morgan

I am the First Year of Studies Librarian at the University of Notre Dame. I work collaboratively with Faculty who teach various courses with our newest undergraduates. I encourage students to schedule a one to one research consultation to review their research topic and explore many information tools important throughout their academic career.
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