Stepping Up: Applying Situational Leadership Concepts to Public Library Work With Teens

  • Mark Richardson Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries
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Working with teens is fun, nerve-wracking, and never dull. After building and growing a thriving teen council at our library for nearly ten years, I’ve spent some time thinking about what I want teens to get out of their experience at the library. One of the big things that they need and want is to develop leadership skills. Every application for college or scholarships seems to ask how they are demonstrating leadership, so I decided several years ago that I would build in opportunities for them to develop these skills on the council. This has taken the form of them leading meetings, splitting up into smaller groups lead by a teen leader, and taking on other, more advanced responsibilities. After learning a bit more about the Situational Leadership model at the Leadership Institute of the Oregon Library Association (LIOLA) conference, I am able to see the times when council members have demonstrated or responded to leadership behaviors described in the model. This article will look at some of these instances and discuss how teaching teens about this model might strengthen their own leadership abilities.


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Author Biography

Mark Richardson, Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries

Mark Richardson is a Reference and Young Adult Librarian at the Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries in Portland. He has worked there since 2004 and been a member of OLA for most of that time. He was Chair of the Oregon Young Adult Network in 2013–2014 and served on the OLA board during that time. He has his MLS from Emporia State University. Mark enjoys walking his dog, reading, playing guitar, trivia, karaoke and playing games with family and friends.

How to Cite
Richardson, M. (2018). Stepping Up: Applying Situational Leadership Concepts to Public Library Work With Teens. OLA Quarterly, 24(2), 15-18.