More Managment Books To Read

In my last post, I talked about Trustology, a management book I read (and loved!) for my leadership program. After reading Trustology, my group presented on it to the rest of the CALLI cohort during a webinar. Everyone else was also put into groups to present on other management books. There were so many interesting sounding management books, I wanted toshare them here. Here are the books the other groups presented on during the webinar:

leading from the frontLeading From the Front: No Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women by Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch. This book is written by two former Marines and details how women can work on their leadership skills. They argue that women haven’t been taught the skills to be leaders, and say that their time in the Marines makes them uniquely qualified to help women gain these skills. In their presentation, the group that talked about this book shared a lot of the anecdotes from the book, which were really interesting. I’m a little hesitant about the gendered nature of it all (it sounds like the women are saying the reason they are better leaders is because they succeeded in a male-dominated field), but I’m willing to give it a read and see if I’m wrong.

influencerInfluencer by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Marxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzer. This book sounded incredibly detailed and the group that talked about it had a lot of ground to cover. This is the book to go to for practical advice to take you step-by-step through how you can become an influencer. It seemed like the kind of book that leaves you with actionable, useful information to put into practice. I also liked that it specifically talked about how to manage change–this is such a huge thing in libraries, as they are changing all the time. Learning how to help teams navigate change is a necessity for a library leader.

tribal leadershipTribal Leadership by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright. This is a book about working with the natural groups that come together in workplaces and using them to get things done and to create an amazing workplace culture. It offers a way to look at workplace culture–is it more like Dunder Mifflin in The Office? Or is it like Apple when it was creating the iPhone? By understanding the different stages of tribal culture in a workplace, the book argues that you can improve your workplace environment and move into a higher performing workplace. I liked the emphasis that this book placed on understanding workplace culture and using that to build a better workplace.

start with whyStart with Why by Simon Sinek. A book about how great leaders–leaders who inspire–are leaders who create a passion for what they are selling and start from there. They are leaders who have thought of the purpose of their companies, rather than just the product. This is an interesting idea, and definitely applicable to libraries, which really do have to sell the purpose of the library to people on a regular basis. One thing the group that presented on this mentioned was that it felt more like a marketing book than a management book, so depending on what you’re looking for in a management book, this may or may not work for you.

The great thing (in theory) about this exercise was that you got to hear about 4 different management books while only reading the one you presented on. In reality, I just ended up adding all of these to my to-read list because they all sounded so interesting. But there are worse problems to have then wanting to read a bunch of interesting-sounding management books!

This Book is My Jam: Trustology by Richard Fagerlin

Welcome to This Book is My Jam, a semi-regular feature in which I talk about a book I recently read and really loved. I read books written for kids, teens, and adults, so it could be aimed at any age group.

TrustologyThis is a surprise entry into “This Book is My Jam.” Because it’s a management book that I had to read for my CALLI program (management and self help books are usually anything but my jam–I read them for good information, but I don’t usually expect to be moved by them). Because the title is (sorry to the author) kind of silly. Because I just honestly didn’t expect to like it, and wasn’t excited about reading it. And then I read it, and really liked it!

The basic premise of Trustology: The Art and Science of Leading High-Trust Teams is that managers need to be better about trusting their team. According to Fagerlin, trusting your team leads to happier employees, more productivity, and more money for the business. Of course, in libraries we aren’t about profit, but who wouldn’t want more productivity and a happier work environment? The book is divided into 3 sections. Here’s a brief rundown of what those sections talk about:

Trustology 101: Trust’s Big Lie. This section talks about the fact that the way we think about trust isn’t correct. We think of it as something to be earned, not something to be given freely. The author says we need to think of trust as something that can only be given–and only you, individually, have the power of giving trust. If you want to have a high trust team, you have to choose to trust your people and keep making that choice day after day. Fagerlin talks about how often we don’t give people the benefit of the doubt or chance to tell their side of the story when breakdowns in communication happen. If we do that, he says, we hold people hostage to our own assumptions of their behavior. That means trust can’t happen.

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I Resolve to Rock in 2015!

It might be a little late for New Year’s resolutions, but I really liked Storytime Underground’s call to resolve to rock in 2015 and wanted to take a little time to think about, and then blog about, my professional goals for the year.

Resolve-to-Rock-meme-image1. Presume good intentions from others. I haven’t blogged about CALLI much lately, which is mostly because it slows down in November and December due to the holiday season. But in January we will be meeting to discuss leadership books we’ve been reading and to share what we’ve learned. I plan on writing a longer post about the fabulous book I read, Trustology, but one major takeaway I got from the book was that you need to presume good intentions from people. This is especially hard to do with people you might have had difficult relationships with in the past. This is both a personal and professional goal for me. It’s something I strive to do naturally, but this is the year I’m going to make sure I’m intentional about it, and give the people around me permission to call me out if they see that I am not presuming good intentions.

2. Finish our department’s weeding project. We’re planning a room redesign, and before that happens we want to be well weeded. The biggest area to be weeded is the nonfiction section. I’m halfway through the 600’s right now (my section is 500-999). It’s going slowly, but it’s amazing how much better the shelves look. I’m excited to keep going with it.

3. Be intentional about adding new songs and rhymes to my storytime repertoire. I have a lot of favorite songs and rhymes I use over and over again for baby and toddler storytime. I love those songs, and so do the babies and the toddlers, but I want to make sure I’m keeping it fresh for everyone. This year I’m going to seek out new songs, rhymes, (and books!), and try them out. It’s always fun to do new things and I want to make sure I don’t get bored or stuck in a storytime rut.

4. More school-aged programming! For our size and staff, our library has a really great amount of baby, toddler, and preschool programming. I’m really proud of the focus on early literacy, but I’d love for us to have more regular school-age programming during the school year.

5. Continue to grow and learn from CALLI. I’m so lucky to be part of the CAL Leadership Institute, and I can’t wait to continue my professional development in the program. I think 2015 will be a year of great learning and growing for me because of my participation in CALLI.

6. Have more fun with my work. This is a professional goal for me every year. Finding joy and fun in what I do is incredibly important to me, and one of the reasons I became a children’s librarian. And the more I focus on having fun, I think I’m both better at my job and happier with my life. Every year at my current job has been more fun than the last, and I want to continue that in 2015.

So those are my professional goals for 2015. What are yours? Also, be sure to check out Storytime Underground if you haven’t already and see what other awesome youth services librarians are resolving to do in 2015!

Goal Setting Revisited

In a previous post, I talked about goal setting, and how CALLI had us make a plan to set goals and follow through on them. This exercise was extremely helpful to me and has helped me reach some more professional and personal goals in the last few months. One of the most helpful parts of the process was having a goal coach. My goal coach and I just caught up on the phone a few days ago, and we had both reached the goals we set for ourselves at CALLI. We agreed that having each other, having someone we knew we would be accountable to, really gave us that final push to accomplish our goals. We didn’t want to let someone else down.

photo credit: via photopin cc

photo credit: via photopin cc

As November comes to a close, I’ve found myself reflecting on goals quite a bit, as I’ve been working on NaNoWriMo over the month of November. The goal of NaNo: write a 50,000 word novel over the month. This ends up being about 1,666 words a day. 50,000 words sounds a little daunting when you look at it as one big chunk, but when you break it up daily, it isn’t nearly as scary. As of today, I’m at a little over 45,000 words (and I haven’t done my writing for the day, yet), and I’m confident I will hit 50,000 words by November 30th. NaNo, in many ways, is the definition of a SMART goal. It’s specific (write a novel); measurable (a 50,000 word novel); attainable (break down the writing into smaller daily chunks which is hard, but doable); realistic (again, not easy, but not impossible if you chip away at it a little bit every day); and time-bound (over the month of November). This was exactly like the goals we worked on crafting at CALLI. Another common factor with my CALLI goals: I told people. I told everyone I knew that I was writing a novel. That again kept me accountable, and meant I forced myself to write even when I didn’t want to. I promised the people close to me I was going to do this, and I wanted to follow through.

Another of my goals for November: to take a break from Facebook. I didn’t want it distracting me from my writing. Again, I told people. I made sure everyone I knew understood I wouldn’t be on Facebook for the month. And (hopefully you’re sensing a pattern here) I stuck to it. I haven’t been on Facebook for the past month.

All of this has gotten me thinking about goal setting and the importance of just telling people my goals. Being accountable to another person, and feeling like another person has a stake in helping me reach my goals, clearly makes me more able to reach them. I’ve found that even in small ways this works. Say I want to get one thing done at work one day and it’s essential. Just telling my coworker: “This is what I want to get done today” means it pretty much always happens. Do you have a goal you’ve been thinking about but slacking on getting started? Tell someone. It may be what helps you get started on the path to accomplishing it.

I’ve Got a Mentor!

In her great guest post on mentoring, Amy Bland talked about the CALLI mentoring day and how the mentoring relationship is supposed to work. I wanted to follow up on her thoughts once I found my own mentor, and I’m pleased to say I’ve found a mentor for the year-long CALLI program: Nancy Maday, the Children’s Services Manager at Pikes Peak Library District. She’s also a co-founder of CLEL (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, a fantastic organization that I currently volunteer for as a member of the Steering Committee–check out their website if you haven’t already) and is passionate about children’s librarians either moving into management or learning to lead from wherever they are in the organization.

I feel so lucky to have a found a mentor that so perfectly matches up with my goals for both CALLI and my career. When we chatted briefly on the phone to decide whether we would be a good mentor match, it already expanded my thinking of my role and how it relates to the whole organization, rather than the day-to-day aspects of my job (I also talked about this quite a bit in the post on the organizational map). I’m lucky to be a part of CALLI, which has a formal mentoring program as part of the year, but I think mentors are important regardless of whether they are formal or not. I’ve had many mentors throughout my career, and here are some things I recommend thinking about when looking for a mentor:

All great questions to ask.

All great questions to ask.

1. Look for a mentor who will question you about the big picture. My first librarian mentor has always been the person I go to when applying for jobs or considering a job change. She is always thinking about, and helping me think about, how this step relates to the next one. Having someone who will help you think strategically about your next job and how it fits into your career arc is incredibly important.

2. Think about what you would like to gain from this relationship. Do you want a mentor who is one step ahead of you in your career and can help you take that next leap? Or do you want someone who is several steps ahead of you, where you’d eventually want to be, and see if they can help you build a path that might help you get a job like theirs? Or do you need someone to help push you in your current role, whether or not you have any desire to move up in the near future? All of these are great reasons to have a mentor. Just decide what you want up front and approach the person who will help you where you are.

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Mentoring and Finding Your Mentor Match

I’m so excited to share the following guest post from a fellow CALLI cohort member, Amy Bland. Sadly, I was out of town for this year’s CALCON (don’t feel too sad for me; I was in Hawaii for a dear friend’s wedding!), and I missed the CALLI session on mentoring. Amy graciously agreed to blog about what happened for me, and here’s what she had to say:

Last Thursday, CALLI members met with potential mentors at the Council Tree Library in Fort Collins. The morning began with with an introduction to the mentoring process, led by Christine Kreger and Janine Reid. They presented the goals and objectives for the mentor/mentee relationship, as well as the characteristics and responsibilities of each party. In the context of CALLI, the mentor provides insight and direction, while the overall needs and goals are defined by the mentee. The mentee should also drive the communication, reaching out to his/her mentor every month or more frequently if a need arises.

After the introduction and ground rules, we heard from two sets of mentors/mentees from previous CALLI cohorts. Each pair described how they formed their unique relationship, how often they met, and what they discussed during their meetings. Both mentors emphasized that they learned a tremendous amount from their mentees, so the relationship is definitely bi-directional. Also, the bonds formed during the mentoring process can extend long after the cohort ends, and may evolve into a less formal relationship. Each mentor/mentee relationship is different, but the most successful ones include a personal connection, the ease to discuss anything, and a commitment to meeting on a regular basis.

When the mentor panel ended, we transitioned into the speed dating round (no joke!). Christine and Janine brought in several potential mentors—library directors, managers, and leaders—who braved six rounds of questioning from eager mentees. I applaud the willingness of these mentors to share their time and experience; I think it says a lot about this profession that there are so many who are willing to help and share.

Before wrapping up, Christine and Janine encouraged mentees to reach out to the mentors who could offer them professional guidance. The mentors didn’t need to be those who attended Thursday’s meeting, but they should be available to meet regularly throughout the year.

Since this meeting was on the first day of CALCON, we had the rest of the conference to observe (“stalk”) potential mentors. With so many amazing librarians in attendance, hopefully most CALLI members left with at least an idea of who they would like as a mentor. I know I did!


Amy is the Technical Services Librarian at BVSD, where she has worked since 2008. She holds an MLIS from DU, specializing in Resource Description and Access. Amy has presented at several state conferences, including CLiC, Google Apps for Education Summit, and most recently at CAL. She loves finding ways to support users with appropriate technology. Amy is also a Vulcan-to-human translator, serving on the communications team for her IT department. Please contact Amy at You can also follow her on Twitter @BVSDLibraries.

CALLI, Going Forward

I feel like I’ve covered a lot of ground in my last few weeks of blog posts, but the truth is, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what we learned. Colorado librarians, if you ever get the chance to apply for CALLI, I urge you to do it. After the opening session, I was thinking critically about my role in my organization, thinking about how to leverage my strengths, and set into motion goals I’d had at the back of my mind for a long time. And this is just at the beginning of the year! I’m so excited to see how much more I will learn and do over the next year. With that in mind, here is what I hope to get out of CALLI:


  1. Learn more about who I am as a leader.
  2. Think about what it means to be a leader. Specifically, even if I don’t have a title that says I’m a “Supervisor,” “Manager,” or “Director,” I can still be a leader in my organization.
  3. Expand my network and learn from amazing library leaders around the state.
  4. Learn from and pick the brains of all of the amazing fellow CALLI participants! It’s an awesome group. I can’t wait to learn more from everyone in the program.
  5. Built a great rapport with my mentor and learn as much as I can from him or her.
  6. Keep an open mind and recognize that I will get way more out of this experience than I could ever even imagine at this point in the process.

So, that’s it for the CALLI opening session. If you’ve stuck with me through all of these opening posts, thanks! I have lots more coming up: some CALLI stuff, but also some features more related to my day job as a children’s librarian. If you want to hear about what keeps my librarian brain up at night, and the storytime books that I couldn’t live without in the month of October, look for those posts coming soon!

photo credit: gcouros via photopin cc