Leadership is a function of knowing yourself: PALS 2011
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.