Volume 24 Issue 2 Introduction
Lots of Ways to Be a Leader Or: I Am a Library Leader, and So Can You!
People tend to have a fixed mindset about who “librarians” are and how library staff should act, represent their profession, and lead. When I say “people,” I am envisioning every public official, captain of industry and Lyft driver who has ever asked me how many people I shush in a day, and then I am envisioning a rain of cartoon anvils. To be fair, I’m also thinking of a younger version of myself, picking out the dowdiest clothes in my wardrobe for my first day as a circulation clerk at my college library.
Thirteen years and many burritos later, I’m still a loudmouth slob who routinely cracks wise and writes policies galore but enforces the only rule that makes sense to me: don’t be a dick (Wheaton, 2007). I’m also the Assistant Director of Library Services at Crook County Library, and someone who wears the title “librarian” with pride. I got here through the guiding example of peers and bosses who showed me that “librarian” is not synonymous with “lame-o” and that in fact the best library leaders—the ones who do the most to effect positive change in their institutions and their communities—are the ones who embrace their strengths and dreams without compromise. This was the central thesis around which the inaugural Leadership Institute of the Oregon Library Association (LIOLA) was built, but it wasn’t entirely news to me.