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.
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This weekend YALSA’s YA Literature Symposium takes place in St. Louis. The theme is The Next Big Thing. Last month YALSA’s The Hub blog had a set of great posts on the theme covering everything from e-reading, to science fiction, to why the next big thing isn’t important. This month in the YALSAblog series on Connect, Create, Collaborate we’ll also talk about The Next Big Thing. This week, what’s the next big thing in teen spaces?

There is a lot of conversation these days about libraries and spaces. Hackerspaces. Makerspaces, Learning Commons. And so on. These are all great conversations to have as they get library staff serving teens thinking about what they do to serve the age group successfully. I keep wondering, are we really planning and thinking about the future of library space beyond the activities that go on in that space? Hacking, making, and learning are all really important. It’s great if we can integrate those activities and re-organize space for that now. But, what happens in the not so distant future when: Read More →

This November, YA librarians and authors will descend upon St. Louis for the 2012 Young Adult Literature Symposium. If you haven’t been to this before, I highly recommend it. I went in 2010 and met a lot of fabulous people and rubbed elbows with a few authors (perpetuating my girl-crush on Lauren Myracle) and came away with a lot of great information. This year the theme is Hit Me with the Next Big Thing.

I started thinking about what exactly that means. How can we predict the future of what’s going to be hot and what’s going to flop? It’s not always easy to find what will be successful for your library, even when you’ve seen it be successful everywhere around you. Read More →