Information Update - Fall 2009

PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies

This year the Pennsylvania Library Association announced it would begin providing a workshop for new librarians who were interested in developing leadership skills. This workshop, the PaLA Academy of Leaderships Studies (PALS), was stretched out over four days and was held in Camp Hill, PA (just outside of Harrisburg). Among the attendees were a number of new librarians from across the Pennsylvania Commonwealth. Representatives were from both Public and Academic Libraries, and titles ranged from Director, Administrator, Coordinator and even entry-level librarians, such as myself.
In addition to me, other local area librarians were also involved in PALS as both participants and as "mentors."Some future leaders participating were Calida Barboza, Reference and Instruction Librarian, King's College; Sheli McHugh, Head Cataloger for the Albright Memorial Library; Sandy Longo, Young Adult Librarian for the Abington Community Library; and Jenn Luksa, Head of Collection Resources Management for Misericordia University's Mary Kintz Bevevino Library. My mentor for the week was Mary Garm, Administrator for the Lackawanna County Library System who is also the one responsible for having envisioned the PALS workshop.
Though this seminar was dedicated to teaching librarians leadership skills, there are a few key ideas everyone would benefit from knowing, regardless of your career or aspirations. Number one, "You don't need a title to be an effective leader." This could mean any number of things: you can be an entry-level employee or even a volunteer; if you have a great idea, it doesn't matter who you are, just speak your mind. In turn, if you already have a fancy title and are the supervisor of an entire floor, remember just because you have the title doesn't make you a leader. Number two, "Know yourself; know the people around you." Each person has his or her own work styles and personality traits. As a leader you have to know yourself, know what works best for you, but also know what works best for all the people working around you. Take into consideration people's emotions and their attention to detail and treat them accordingly-you'll see that this attention to other people tends to pay off in the long run.
This workshop was spread over four days and I could not possibly share all I have learned from the presenters, mentors, and even from my peers at this event. However, the two snippets of knowledge I mentioned in the last paragraph are the first steps to becoming an excellent leader. Take those ideas into consideration, implement them in your life, and good things are bound to happen for you, your company, your peers, and the people who look up to you for guidance.
George Aulisio
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition