Category: Library Leadership Books

149. Building Joy-Centric Libraries with Rebecca Hass

What are ways we can bring joy into our work lives and libraries? On this show Rebecca Hass, Programming and Outreach Manager with Anne Arundel County Public Library, talks about Building Joy-Centric Libraries. It’s a way we can get joy into the conversation about what we do and then make it happen. 

Recommended Books & Links by Rebecca Hass

127. Logic: Back to the Basics with Heath Stanfield

Have you ever wondered how to help customers navigate information in an age of so many people making so many claims? On today’s show Heath Stanfield, Manager of the McAlester Public Library in Oklahoma, takes us back to basics to examine classical models of logical fallacies that can help us help our customers find high-quality information.

Leadership Books: Outliers & So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Geetha Murali Leadership Book Recommendations:

“Room to Read has found that it really is about our network. We are a movement that has grown up from a family of individuals—and individuals within companies around the world that have supported our cause. The concept I’m speaking to, you can read books like the Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, or So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport, they talk about this idea of hard work and focus. I really do believe that hard work has been what has paved my trajectory.

Of course, there are things like serendipity and the goodwill of good people along the way that has helped incredibly. I wouldn’t be here without all of them. But in the end, putting in the time to gain the skills and the knowledge, and like I was saying, just as importantly the relationship that Room to Read needs to move ahead is really what I’m focused on. I think that notion that the learning never ends is what continues to drive us forward.”

Buy the books:


So Good They Can’t Ignore You

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Recommended Books: Tribes – We Need You to Lead Us

LLP Episode #5: Kris Johnson 
“So, if I may, I have two things I could mention here that are inspirational to me but I’ll be really honest with you, I don’t tend to read a lot of books about leadership, particularly like library leadership. But, I find myself drawn to other sources of inspiration.

One book that you may be familiar with but that I have found myself drawn to in the past five or so years is by Seth Godin, and it’s called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. The thing I like about this book is, like all of Godin’s books, they are super easy to read. And, the premise is very simple. The premise is that tribes are groups of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. What he really does in this book is emphasize that almost everyone can be a leader.

But, most of us are kept from realizing our potential by fear of criticism or fear of being wrong. Then if you’re drawn to being a leader but you ignore that opportunity to lead, you risk turning into what he calls a sheepwalker, which is someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs. I think that is what aligns with my thinking about design thinking is that if you’re a design thinker you’re definitely not going to become a sheepwalker.

Another recent source of inspiration from me isn’t necessarily a book, but it’s a person. I’ve attended several presentations given by a designer named Jon Kolko. His last name is spelled K O L K O. He actually has several writings out there that are super inspirational. He’s written some books and actually, I mentioned Harvard Business Review earlier, he has some really good pieces in the Harvard Business Review, most recently one called, Design Thinking Comes of Age.

This is a really good piece because in it he advocates a set of principles collectively known as design thinking which are empathy with users, a discipline of prototyping, and a tolerance for failure, is the best tool we have for creating the kinds of interactions our users need.

And, that in turn we can apply the design thinking to help develop a responsive and flexible organizational culture. That’s what really resonated with me was that his focus on corporations as needing responsive flexible organizational cultures and how design thinking could help with that. I really wanted to make that connection to the work we do in libraries, as well.”

Buy the Book: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Listen to Kris’ full episode:

Recommended Books: Mindset – The New Psychology of Success

Question: What’s your favorite Library Leadership Book and why?

Jami Munk Carter: It’s not necessarily written for leaders. It’s a very introspective book. The book Mindset by Carol Dweck has been extremely influential for me. The concept that we are both growth-minded and fixed-minded in different areas of our lives, applying that to myself, applying that understanding to staff that I work with to assist them to grow in ways that are meaningful to them. In addition to our community as well, understanding how to approach somebody.

It is uncomfortable. Often I speak quite a bit about self-directed achievement and learning cultures and in the process of learning in general. One of the things that comes up is we want a safe and comfortable environment to learn. That’s what’s very very important to us and if we had that we would absolutely do it. That’s what people tell me, and I contradict part of that. As a leader, it’s important for us to make it a safe place to learn. That learning and failure are part of our processes.

Your colleagues also have something to do with that safety. So, it has to start with leadership or leadership needs to adopt it. If you’re lucky enough to have a staff that is okay with that safety. I propose that it will never feel comfortable to learn. It is not a place to know that you don’t know something to feel less than, to feel a lack of something is not a comfortable place to be. What I propose to people and what I try to live myself is that I get to use that trigger in my mind when I’m feeling vulnerable, or when I’m feeling imposter syndrome is creeping in.

I have to recognize that, as an emotion that I can turn to—become excitement. Because, here’s the next thing I get to be good at. Here’s the next thing I get to learn. Here’s the next thing I get to fumble through and become a better person for it. That takes some intentionality. It takes some practice, but the idea that being comfortable, I don’t feel is a reality, that we can really expect as a person. I worry 1 that it becomes an excuse because we feel safe, but not comfortable. So, we don’t do it. 

Listen to Jami’s full episode here:

Recommended Books: Strategic Diversity Leadership

Episode #4: Jim Neal 
“I’ve always been very interested in the work of Clayton Christensen. I know that there is some debate about his commentaries on leadership but I view the importance of innovation as so critical to the success of libraries and librarians.

He, more than any other writer today, has given me some really good guidance and good thinking around how social, political, economic, technological change encourages us to think differently about what we are, how we are perceived and understood by the communities we serve and by how we do it. I find his work to be really powerful.

The other book that I found to be really helpful was focused on the higher education communities by Damon Williams called, Strategic Diversity Leadership. It’s all about how to activate change and transformation in the higher education community. It has important lessons that extend well beyond just colleges and universities.

It just demonstrates that in order to have high-quality education, to promote economic development, leadership capacity, social justice —diversity is important, but it’s central to our work as leaders in whatever field we find ourselves working in. I’ve always tried to embrace that. It’s one of my core values, and I’m glad to be working in a field which also gives such high importance to diversity, inclusion and social justice.”

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Listen to Jim’s full episode:

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