Thursday, July 27, 2017

Guest Post: Power Up Conference Highlights

Guest Author: Susie Menk, Youth Librarian, Manitowoc Public Library

Power Up: A Leadership Conference for Youth Services Managers & Staff
March 30 - 31, 2017  Madison, WI

Keynote speaker - Gretchen Caserotti
Gretchen was an engaging speaker who had an air of experience that was easy to recognize.  My favorite quote from her presentation comes from John Quincy Adams - “If your actions lead your people to do more, dream more, act more, you are a leader.”  Leadership is more of influencing others to be and do their best than it is power.  Three points that Gretchen emphasized were that 1) no one is going to do it for you, 2) you have to execute and 3) you set the tone/mood/stage for your library or department.
Reflective Leadership - This workshop, led by Leah Langby, explored steps and processes to use when planning programming or services for youth services.  The four stages included exploration (is it a fit for us?), installation (develop, prepare and plan for change), initial implementation (try it out, make adjustments) and full implementation (how things are done).   Part of smart planning is doing pre- and post—discussions of the project.  Having a willingness and openness in communication to make decisions about programs will help develop stronger programs that work.  Leah’s workshop focused on the concern that rather than just jumping from one new idea or program to the next, if we take time to analyze and discuss new programs we will be better able to develop programs in the future.

Moving on Up? - This workshop, presented by Alea Perez, focused on how to empower staff to make the most of their individual talents and strengths.  What I got most out of this presentation was being flexible, making sure you and your staff have time to work alone and RECHARGE, seeing conflict as a challenge to overcome, and staying positive.  Asking questions of your staff and yourself as to how can we make this department better or how can we make this work better for each staff member.
Leading Change in Innovative Programming for Youth - This workshop was led by Krista Riggs and I appreciated her concept of changing not by fighting the old, but building up the new.  One of the key steps to building up the new is visioning what it will look like.  If you know where you want to go or what you hope to accomplish it helps you figure out the steps to get there.  One key point she emphasized was how open and non-threatening brainstorming needs to be.  It’s important that staff feel comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas and expressing opinions.  It’s also a good idea to invite outside people into your brainstorming sessions.

Addressing the Need for Confrontation - Renee Wallace did an outstanding job with this topic.  She recommended a book entitled “Effective Difficult Conversations”, which I hope to read soon.  She had excellent suggestions for preparing and handling difficult conversations.  Make sure to establish goals—what are the expectations and why it needs to be that way.  Renee also strongly suggested have a witness for difficult conversations so there would be no questions about what happened.  After the matter has been dealt with, be sure to go over future expectations and what the future will look like.  Document every time you need to have a difficult conversation.

Launching Your Youth Council:  Models and Best Practices for Teen Leadership - Erin Shaw led this interactive discussion of Teen engagement in libraries.  Her biggest tip was to actively recruit teens.  Don’t wait for them to come to you, you must go out and find them.  One of the neatest program ideas I heard at this presentation was teens hosting a talent show for kids.  Teens got to set up the AV equipment, stage and even put together a budget for prizes.  It looked like a great idea, low cost and easy to implement.  Another simple idea was teens making buttons and selling them at the service desk to fund their programs.  Another point Erin made was getting buy-in from other staff members.  Invite them to TAB meetings and get their ideas for programming.  If you can build positive relations between teens and staff that will go a long way to making teens feel welcome in the library which will lead to more teen involvement.

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