career Library Leadership

Productive Meetings

During this time of hybrid and remote work, meetings whether virtual or in person, are vital for healthy team morale. Productive communication from you and senior leadership is so important to share information and gather employee feedback. Keep the following tips in mind when holding your next staff meeting.


 Host meetings if there is important information to be distributed that cannot be shared via email or phone. To hold a meeting just because, really is not a sufficient reason. So, be sure employees are aware of the agenda, and send it out 24 hours ahead of your meeting. 

Furthermore, if you’re hosting a guest speaker also include their contact on the email reminder and an agenda. If the meeting is a brainstorming session, be specific of the intended outcomes. Before the meeting begins, provide employees context. Enable the team to prepare their thoughts beforehand. No one likes to waste time. Set the stage for expectations with a meeting agenda for the best results.

Online meetings

While easy to attend, virtual meetings lack the social interaction and networking that in person gatherings provide. If your organization’s meetings are mostly virtual, establish parameters for video and audio use.

For example, will all attendees be expected to have cameras ON but muted audio unless speaking? Be sure staff are aware of the expectations. How should attendees dress? Should audio be muted? It’s difficult to gauge an audience virtually, so ask your questions multiple times for various responses. Be sure to monitor the chat function to ensure no question is unanswered. Also check throughout the meeting for raised hands. 

Note Taking

A short review of what was shared via email is important after the meeting. Some employees might not have attended, or contacts and links were shared that staff need to complete a task. Having information written down is important for effective communication and accuracy. Rotating the note taking responsibility among your team or designating one person each quarter is a solid strategy. It’s also an excellent professional development tool for your team.

Virtual meetings have the option to be recorded, which makes note taking even easier. Whatever method used, be consistent and your communications and meetings will run smoothly every time.

Library Leadership

Libraries and Programming

We have lived through the last two years in pandemic mode with many changes including library services. We have seen service models change and new programs emerge. The needs of communities are at the forefront of these changes, along with health and safety. So, what do programs look like now, with COVID-19 and health risks still in the foreground for many libraries? Let’s look at some successes.

Programs Outdoors

If you are lucky to live in a climate where in-person library programs can be held outside, patrons can have a new service model outdoors. Customers enjoy storytimes, school-age crafts, or book clubs social distanced for safety. However, programs are very engaging. If your climate is too warm or snowy, then an alternative has been a hybrid format. Producing online programs streamed via Zoom or prerecorded. This has become popular with many libraries.

Prerecorded Library Programs

Other libraries have great success and attendance with recording programs and posting the links. Posting within a Facebook post is also a great way to host a pre-recorded program. The advantage of prerecorded story times is easy editing and a way for the librarian to overcome nerves. Having your program recorded allows the flexibility to fix mistakes before posting. The link is available to update easily as your library changes. Plus the needs of your audience will change too.

Online Library Gatherings

Finally, many public libraries have adapted to all online programs due to funding constraints or public health concerns. Whether prerecorded or live every week at a predetermined time, virtual programs are the safest way to provide literacy and learning to a community. However, the downside is the staff’s reliance of a live audience for immediate feedback.

You also must have a team that has the skills and technology available to produce engaging library programs. Your library staff will need to have a solid handle on the audience they’re serving and the devices available. Have a reliable solution available if technology fails. Furthermore, bandwidth might be an issue and  would be a burden for your library users during online programs. Be sure to have solid solutions in place for every hiccup that could happen.

Library Leadership

Plan A Training Day

Organizations especially libraries have long held day long or half day training days. Closing for one day provides a much-needed break for employees to learn and network. Here are a few simple ideas to get your staff training day off the ground.

Have A Plan

If your library will be closing for the day, or celebrating National Library Week, the learning objectives need to be spelled out. Will you be teaching safety polices, new technology or providing an opportunity to hear a  speaker ? Planning a training day, your organization will guide the learning outcomes. Some constants will always remain the same. Food and staff participation are two of the most important that need to be considered when planning your day together.

Staff Involvement

The best method is to include the entire team to set up committees at least six months in advance of your training day. Subcommittees allow all employees to be included in the decisions of the entire day and plays to the strengths of everyone involved with the planning. Spreading the planning among many of your team, also allows professional development for every level of employee.  Allowing all staff to participate in planning also provides valuable buy-in to the day’s activities and successful outcomes.

Food and Fun

Providing meals or even snacks is totally up to you and the budget. Would the Library Friends group be willing to donate food for staff day? Could every staff member bring something for a continental breakfast or easy lunch? Having food and beverages available for your team makes a huge difference, so get creative if your organization will not allow you to purchase food items.

Also include a fun activity that builds your team morale. Are you creating art together, making a bridge from marshmallows, or playing 20 questions while roaming the room? Plan something enjoyable to do as a team to bring everyone together even for 30 minutes. Planning a staff day will be beneficial for your work group in many ways and taking the first few steps is very easy!

career Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Libraries and Entrepreneurs


Many people dream of becoming entrepreneurs. They look forward to being in control of their own destiny and love building a career. Entrepreneurs are motivated and driven, and they aren’t afraid of hard work. The question is, where can you find resources to help get started? The answer is your local library!

Libraries Provide Access 

There are many research and reference tools for entrepreneurs at public libraries. Online tools that would cost a fortune if you had to purchase them yourself are free. Libraries have resources such as Reference USA, Regional Business News, and Business Source Premier for free.  These databases normally would cost thousands of dollars to access. Public libraries allow free access anytime with a library card and computer. Check to see if your city has multiple library systems, to access different subscriptions from each library. 

Free Patent Information

Checking out a patent or idea before moving forward is an entrepreneur’s first step. It is important to make sure that someone else doesn’t hold a trademark or patent on your idea. Libraries provide patent check resources and trademark information for free. This way, an idea is vetted before investing heavily.  Avoid legal problems down the road by checking out your idea. 

Check Out the Competition

Researching your competition before you start your business is also important. Entrepreneurs want know everything about potential competitors.  Furthermore, the library offers free information on marketing, demographics, and sales volume for the competition. Information that is invaluable for your idea to be successful.  The Reference USA database is the best source to help you gain an edge with your own company.

Raising Capital

Finally, raising capital in any business is essential. You will need to find investors or angel funders.  Libraries have all the information you need to begin the search. You will find resources and people to help you create a pitch, a logo, and more. You can find ideas on how to name your product, and you can learn how to speak in public. Finally, you can learn how to approach investors and sell them on your idea. The public library should be the first stop for any start up, and all the information is free!  Best of luck on your new venture.

career Library Jobs Library Leadership

Goal Setting

Goalsetting is a useful tool to guide your career in any industry, especially in libraries. Read on for tools to help in setting goals and developing your career plan for future growth. With work- place cultures changing due to COVID, realigning your goals now might be right for you.

Gap Analysis

A standard gap analysis determines your current status, and where you’d like to end up.  The gap or what’s missing is in the middle. Does this gap need to be filled with education, another job, increased salary, or a new geographic asset? Only you can determine what is the most important factor and how to obtain your goal. Having your plan benchmarked with SMART goals and establishing a plan to close gaps will get you there. Smaller goals should build upon one another to fill the gaps and ultimately help you achieve your main career objective.


Finding a trusted mentor you can rely on will help in your career plan. Finding more than one will help even more, especially if a few are outside of your industry. Jobs and careers are made with relationships and connections. Networking and finding mentors might be a little more difficult with more industries working remotely. However, volunteering for service events, attending conferences, and adding value in your current job, position you as a leader. Mentors are drawn to natural leaders, so just ask if you feel a connection with a colleague. The more genuine connections you make with people, the more likely you will find someone to help you.

Use LinkedIn

Finally, use LinkedIn and use it a lot. If your partner’s career dictates your geographic location and possibly your career goals now, then pivot.  What I mean is, what smaller achievements can you accomplish which will help you get toward that larger career goal.  Think about teaching, volunteering, or shadowing someone in your desired industry or job.  Anything to make yourself more valuable to a future employer will help you in the long run. To overcome a geographic obstacle be sure to link with colleagues in your desired location.  You never know what opportunities might open or when you might make a physical move.

Having a career plan is a way to keep your goals on track, yet flexible for life. Especially with the pandemic having families rethink priorities, having a career plan in place will make you feel more in control of your future.  Best of luck!

Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Improving Employee Engagement

With the pandemic changing how we live our lives such as remote work environments or new meeting platforms, engaging your employees is so important. Leaders that connect with their employees regularly with solid communication will keep up morale in their teams. Offering new opportunities to expand skillsets and keeping lines of communication open are vital to boost morale and engagement. Doing this regularly in your library will enable your team to thrive even in the most unpredictable and changing times.

Regular Communication

Having set library staff meetings is a must in our changing work environment especially with in person programming and physical circulation numbers down. During the pandemic lockdown normal routines and work schedules were altered. So, expressing a clear message of what’s going on in your organization helps dispel rumors when no information is present. Clear communication keeps all your stakeholders informed and on the same page. Even in unpredictable times, telling your staff what’s going on is important to keep the lines of communication open and questions and answers flowing. When information is not shared timely or not at all, people tend to create their own answers or share misinformation.

Employee Engagement

Besides regular meetings, having a planned day or even one afternoon to schedule in house training is very important to keep up the skills of your library staff and more importantly keep up morale. Having few if any customers come into the library for more than a year, hit staff hard. Many organizations are still rebounding. Some libraries describe Staff Training Day as the one time all the employees from their entire team can come together. It is an opportunity to network and learn something new to help their patrons and community. Think about having the staff plan the events of the day and act as trainers to help build professional development. Plan an entire day of learning for your librarians and staff to help increase engagement immediately with the team.

Be present

Just because you can work remotely doesn’t mean you should. Being present and seen by your library team is the most important factor to consider when increasing morale. Think about your team of library workers who must show up every day to help customers. Being present for your team and walking the floor shows you care about them and your library community.

Remember to check back every few weeks for other tips to help manage and engage your team! Kathy Husser’s travel blog also has great tips for your next getaway.