Leading in a Multigenerational Organization

This talk by Maureen Sullivan was truly invigorating. I chose to attend this session because my own department boasts members of probably every generation discussed here:
Traditionalists (born before 1946),
Boomers (born 1964-1964),
Gen X (born 1965-1980, and
Millenials born 1980-2000. DISCLOSURE: I was born in 1981. 🙂

The presentation initially tackled some of the more obvious issues that arise when discussing generational differences: what are some stereotypical characteristics of each generation in the workplace, how do we define what a “generation” of people is (for the purposes of this talk it was defined as a group of people born within a span of about 20 years whose display similar values, preferences and behaviors), and Ms. Sullivan was careful to note that obviously every person within a generation can deviate from the stereotype for one reason or another.

We soon broke into groups of three to discuss some basic generational characteristics of the four generations described above, and after reconvening the larger group, Ms. Sullivan asked for some characteristics of each generation that could be considered assets in the library environment. The rest of the session offered the following concepts:

For the 1st time in U.S. history, there are 4 different generations working in together in the same environment

Capitalize on different characteristics of each generation to achieve “generational synergy.”

The stage of adult development an individual is in affects intergenerational interaction.

Important to remember distinction between bias and stereotypes. Stereotypes can sometimes help us to communicate more effectively, but must take care on how we act on these stereotypes.

It is important to recognize that every employee is a self-directing adult.

We should strive to create a workplace that allows for each individual to grow and development.

Mentoring goes both ways, between more experienced employee and less experienced employee.

Organizations should move from being rigid and over-structured to open and fluid, with staff work not bound by job descriptions.

Must get to know and recognize each individual’s work style, strengths, and expectations.

Focus on creating an inspiring, engaging vision for the future.

Give attention to how we build commitment of individuals and groups to achieve that vision while focusing on individual strengths.

Meet needs of each person to some extent (not necessarily all needs).

Build shared commitments to vision!

Forming Community Partnerships

Link to conference powerpoint: http://www.nelib.org/conference/2007/p/formingcommunity-powerpoint.pdf

Collaboration between Keene State and Keene Public Libraries in Keene NH.

Can an Academic and Public library work together?

A tale of 2 libraries (in walking distance of each other).

Keene State:
est. 1929, 180,000 titles, 5,235 students.

Keene Pub.:
est. 1828, 121,500 titles, approx. 22,500 residents

What is a library partnership?
Consortium model- multiple libraries work together
Joint-use library model- 2 libs sharing space
Academic library & public library model- one-on-one relationship

Consulted Librarian’s Guide to Partnerships.
Collaboration between community college and public libraries (joint use model) do exist.

Academic/public relationships are rarer, this is not a joint use case.

Examples of Academic & Public Library Partnerships (Joint-Use)
2001: first private/public library partnership (Nova Southeastern Univ. and Broward County
Board of County Commissioners)

2003: 1st large state/major metropolitan public library partnership (San Jose State Univ. and San Jose Public Library)

Academic & Public Library Partnerships (separate buildings)
Pioneer Library Consortium (Oregon) : seventy libraries (academic, public, school/community colleges)

Cedar Valley Library Consortium (Iowa)- four libraries

Middlebury College and Middlebury Public Library (Vermont)- 2 libraries

Automate the Catalog!
1988, Keene State and Pub. faced this same task with big price tag
Public lib to join with state lib, but money ran out.

At same time, city of Keene began downtown revitalization project:
more attractive downtown
more incentives for commerce
local businesses formed a special committee
public library is in this area of revitalization

College Town Woes (Town/Gown issues):
Disruptive students
loud parties
police and fire dept. must handle false alarms and ruckus
complaints from community members
A library partnership helps town/gown relations

Turning a corner:
KSC & KPL become partners in a joint automation project
KSC hires systems lib who works at KPL
Applied for grant to automate

system selection involved both librarys’ staffs and admins, city council members, college president and dean.
selected Triple I- because it handles 2 classification systems, and easy to use OPAC (patrons, students)

KSC paid 2/3 cost, towards good will for town.

diff. overdue fines, loan periods, classifcation systems, overall cost.
high school students checking out entire subj. areas (imposed 3 item limit for each library, now abolished)
commnity members soured on college’s overuse of town services

lib directors attend town metgs
articles in college and town newspapers
when city could not pay, college covered for cost.

Keene-link established:
Libraries inKeene linking together
online iun spring 1991

Benefits for each partner:
access to pop works, fiction, child lit,
staff and facutly can check out kpl itmes even if they live out of keene
retun at aiehter loc.
public-access to scholarly research, dvds/vids

Staff benefits:
collegiality btwn staffs
broadened perspective and understanding of each library’s needs
re-evaluate procedures and policies
overcome differences and resolve issues

More benefits:
now have 2 systems librarian (dual back up coverage)
regular ongoing mtgs betwen 2 depts. in each libraries
colleagues in your area with expertise

Each lib’s work affects the other
Issues from III system to resolve
Different missions and patrons with different needs

Examples of challenges (cataloging):
Agree on which MARC fields to load from new bib records, and regular review of III load tables
Sharing of Create list review files
running a review file (can step on other library’s toes!)

Examples of challenges (circ):
book jacket image OPAC feature (KPL wanted it)
10 digit phone number in patron records
patron fines-KSC purges patorns, can’t with KPL fines on them (under $5 can pruge)
holds feature- special settings from iii to allow kpl to do holds but ksc to not do it. turned on holds feature at ksc, were not overwhelmed by holds contrary to expectations

Other partnership ideas:
work with local non-profits like Vigo County Public Library (IN).
-project to create and maintain websites for nonprofits in community

Mountain Area Information Network (NC)
-community network provides low cost email, web sites, tech support and training, chat rooms.

More ideas:
comm outreach programs
info literacy projects
grant collaboration
-partners for Monadnock History project
shared bibliography creation
joint programming
joint program advertising
promote local businesses and arts

Summarizing KSC/KPL partnership:
improved town/gown relationship
great potential for ongoing future projects
commitment to work together for better or worse
brings together the community, the college, the patrons and staffs of both libraries

See also articles:

Creating and Capitalizing on the Town/Gown Relationship: An Academic Library and a Public Library Form a Community Partnership
The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 32, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 624-629
Kathleen Halverson and Jean Plotas

A Further Perspective on Joint Partnerships: A Commentary on Creating and Capitalizing on the Town/Gown Relationship
The Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 32, Issue 6, November 2006, Pages 630-631
Veronica Smith