In 2011, I attended the Eureka! Leadership Institute in California. It was one of the best professional development experiences I have had to date. For 5 days, I worked alongside 31 other librarians around California with a variety of experience and years in the field—from directors to supervisors and managers to part-time and full-time librarians. All had a passion to be a driving force for change in their library systems and were eager to learn how to start the process.
We went through a series of planned exercises and discussions related to management, leadership, change, and the importance of vision. We exchanged some laughs and some tears, ideas and insecurities, and most importantly, we opened ourselves up to our fellow colleagues and really got the chance to examine what it means to be a librarian in the 21st century. After the intensive training was finished, we each went back to our communities, inspired, and committed to a year-long project that filled a demonstrated community need. Another valuable aspect of our training was to participate in an online grant-writing course, develop outcomes and evaluation measures for our projects, and write our own grant to secure funds.