How Did You Get to Leadership?

The ALSC Emerging Leaders team is asking youth folks to fill in a brief survey to help them in studying the potential for new pathways to library leadership for youth and school librarians. Leadership for the survey is defined as the career roles of manager, director, supervisor, etc. The results of this along with other related research will be released in June by this busy team.

It's always interesting to reflect on how we get to the path we are on. While leadership can mean direct supervision of others, I have always found that too narrow a definition. In the halcyon days of my non-management early career, I channeled my leadership potential into getting active in professional associations (regional, state, and national). Those opportunities afforded me a powerful path not only to leadership but to a strong peer and mentor network that still sustains and supports me (and pulls me up short when I gallop off in a bizarre direction!).

One question that I enjoyed thinking about in the survey is whether, at this time, I had achieved the leadership/management position I wanted.

I was totally, YES!!  I now work as a part-time consultant and part-time educator, teaching both CE and grad courses for UW-Madison SLIS...all after retiring from an exciting, inventive, sometimes challenging full-time career as a front-line children's librarian/manager.

In my young-itude I dreamed off having a great career with kids and staff. Check!

I also dreamed working with others to make a difference in children's librarianship and my communities. Check!

As I got older, I dreamed of being a consultant and mentor - supporting and helping other libraries and getting the great gift of being able to learn in return. Check!

In my secret heart of hearts, I dreamed of teaching at a university grad level. I developed workshops, webinars and presentations but never believed I could have that opportunity - until the stars aligned and I thought of a CE course and pitched it. That first CE course birthed others and resulted in teaching at the graduate level in SLIS. Check!

It occurred to me that all those dreams were ones I actively turned my path towards and acted on. So what I dreamed and visioned came true - in small part because I walked a path towards them and in large part because I was supported and nurtured along the leadership paths by organizations and colleagues who believed in me.

Lots of people believe in YOU too! What paths will your leadership take? I can hardly wait to find out!

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