Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Leadership is a function of knowing yourself: PALS 2011

with 4 comments

Lets Go I Want To Go All The Way To The Horizon by Bethan on Flickr

I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 Pennsylvania Library Association Academy of Leadership Studies (PALS) last week. PALS is a cooperative endeavor between PaLA and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries with support from Polaris Library Systems. The yearly program offers leadership development for newer librarians (those with less than 6 years of experience) through training and mentoring support. You can learn more about the program (including 2009 and 2010 graduates – 2011 participants will hopefully be up soon-) by visiting the PaLA website. It is an incredibly important program in terms of recognizing, developing, and ensuring continuity of effective library leadership within Pennsylvania.

I have a bit of history with the initiative (I was invited to speak to the inaugural class and compare the program with ALA Emerging Leaders back in 2009) but this time was a completely new experience. Along with four other Pennsylvania librarians, I am a mentor for the class of 2011. Mentors got to attend the academy and participate in various ways, including sharing illustrations of leadership from their own experience. Post-academy, I will work with a small group of PALS graduates in my geographic area but will also support all of the graduates in terms of networking, leadership, career and personal development.

That’s right, folks. Three years ago I moved to Pennsylvania (not knowing a single soul) to start my first professional position as a librarian. And it was a newly-created position to boot. Now I am being asked to mentor other new librarians and support them on their journeys. It’s pretty dang amazing. I was preparing for the academy and my boyfriend asked me, “Did you consider yourself a leader before they invited you to do this?” Honestly, no. I never sat down and thought about it. But now I see that it’s what I have been aiming to do all along, even with this blog. Leadership is a choice we make and it doesn’t hinge on being in a position of power. More on that later. I am so honored to be a part of PALS, and I know I will learn just as much (if not more) from the friends I have made through this experience as they will learn from me.

Along with friends, I came home with a copious amount of notes and new ideas (shamelessly stolen), so look for more posts on library leadership right here. Perhaps this is the re-invigoration I needed to spark my blogging back up. Pete Bromberg has already requested that I turn my opening keynote into a blog post (it’s coming, I promise!) so keep your eyes peeled.

In good consciousness, I could not wrap up this post without thanking the PALS organizers for inviting me to participate, particularly Tina Hertel, Angela Buckley, Holly Etzweiler, Mike Packard, Allyson Valentine, Mary Garm, and Marguerite Dube. And of course, all of the PALS Class of 2011 – you are such an inspiration to me! I look forward to learning with you and making our collective mark on libraries in Pennsylvania.


Written by Erin Dorney

June 12, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Posted in Libraries

Tagged with , , ,

4 Responses

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  1. “Leadership is a choice we make and it doesn’t hinge on being in a position of power.” I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ll be watching for “more on that later” as promised! : )


    June 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM

  2. Welcome back to the blog fold, Dorney! I am excited to read the new posts – and, nice new design!

    Jason W. Dean

    June 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM

  3. AWESOME! I totally agree w/ “Leadership is a choice we make and it doesn’t hinge on being in a position of power.” I find it is often that people who are in non-managerial positions to be the “catalysts” to SPARK change. Thanks for reminding me that leadership is a choice. I CHOOSE leadership, not because it offers some elements of power- but it allows for me to influence others. I look forward to your upcoming posts.

    Variegated Stacks

    June 13, 2011 at 10:26 AM

  4. @Bonnie – Thanks for the kind words. Nice to meet someone else from the area (even if it’s just virtually!)

    @Jason – Thanks! Any thoughts/feedback on the new design? I was just so sick of color (not sure why) and wanted something more simple/clean. Blatantly stolen from, though. Good thing imitation is the most sincere form of flattery!

    @Ge Ge – No problem, the leadership academy was so inspiring I just have to share it with others. More to come!

    Erin Dorney

    June 13, 2011 at 11:44 PM

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