NPS Toolkit

New Professionals Section Toolkit

This toolkit is a curated collection of resources including blogs, blog posts, books, articles, webinars, and more, focusing on areas of interest to LIS students, new professionals, and librarians looking to move into a leadership role. Where possible, the resources selected are freely available/open access. Links are provided where applicable.


Professional Development Overview

  • Grant, M. J., Sen, B., and Spring, H. (2013). Research, evaluation and audit: key steps in demonstrating your value. London: Facet.  For information professionals just beginning to explore conducting research, this collection of essays provides an overview of how to work through the process. Included are sections on conducting qualitative and quantitative studies, data analysis, and writing up your findings.

  • LaGuardia, C. (2014 March 20). Professional development: what’s it to you? Not dead yet (part 1). Library Journal.  In the first of this two part blog post LaGuardia analyzes responses from library managers about their professional development activities and what professional development actions they would like from their staff. Included is a list of specific professional development activities and direct quotes from managers.

  • LaGuardia, C. (2014 April 17). Professional development: what’s it to you? Not dead yet (part 2) . Library Journal.  In part two LaGuardia discusses what staff are doing for professional development, including direct quotes from librarians. Then she compares the difference between the professional development activities of staff and managers.

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Attending Conferences

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Getting Grants

  • Langille, L., and Mackenzie, T. (2007). Navigating the road to success: guidelines for preparing competitive grant proposals. Evidence Based Library And Information Practice, 2(1), 23-31.  The authors give 11 steps for a successful grant proposal. Also included is a glossary and timeline.

  • Library Grants  An up-to-date listing of available grants for public, academic, and special libraries.

  • MacKellar, P. H., Gerding, S. K., and Gerding, S. K. (2010). Winning grants: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians with multimedia tutorials and grant development tools. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.  A comprehensive guide to getting awarded grants. Part 1 describes the process, Part II provides success case studies, and Part III contains a grant writing toolkit.

  • Stickell, L. and Nickel, L. (2011) Grant proposals for the working librarian. In Smallwood, C. (Ed.), The frugal librarian: thriving in tough economic times. (pp. 47-53) Chicago: American Library Association.  This chapter provides readers with an overview of the grant application process from initial idea to completed application. The authors also include a case study describing their success at obtaining a grant.

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Committee Work

  • Bivens, W. (2013, February 1). How to chair an ALA committee meeting. Academic Librarian.  Excellent tips for chairing a committee that will be applicable for many different types of meetings.

  • Loch-Wouters, M. (2013, February 4). I wanna be on a youth book award committee. Tiny Tips for Library Fun.  These tips will work for getting appointed to any major ALA committee. Start with process oriented committees, smaller section committees, or subcommittees and work your way up.

  • Outler, E. (2013). A law librarian’s guide to effective committee participation. AALL Spectrum, 17(9) 21-24.  Great tips on how to volunteer, why you should, how to best participate, and what to do if you are a committee chair. Geared toward law librarians, but useful for any information professional.

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Leading from any Position

  • Bell, S. (2012, August 23). Learning to lead others to change | Leading from the library. Library Journal.  Focusing on an academic setting, Bell describes the challenges of and offers strategies to creating change on campus, regardless of position. Bell contributes to a series of LJ articles, under the title “Learning to Lead”. 

  • Bennis, W. G. (2009). On becoming a leader. New York: Basic Books.  With the belief that leaders are developed and not born, Bennis takes readers through the qualities of great leaders and narrative examples as well as strategies for implication.  Every leader has to start from somewhere.

  • Dudley, D. (2010). Everyday leadership. TED Talks.  Leadership is something that we participate in everyday in the smallest ways that we may not realize.  Drew Dudley empowers viewers to be comfortable calling themselves leaders and celebrate leadership in all forms.

  • Masland, J. T. (2011, September 3). Leading from the stacks: an introduction. Dewey’s Not Dead.  The first in a series of blog posts focusing on lessons learned during his library school class, Leading From Any Position with Cindy Romaine at Emporia State University.

  • Maxwell, J. C. (2005). The 360͒ leader: developing your influence from anywhere in the organization. Nashville: Nelson Business.  Focuses on people in the middle of the organization and gives strategies on how to lead and overcome myths about leadership.

  • North, A. (2011, December 1). How to get and keep a mentor. Jezebel.  Tips on creating and cultivating a successful relationship with a mentor. Also includes a brief list of books which would be helpful in exploring this type of relationship in greater detail.

  • Rogers, J. NLS6 workshop: leadership. Attempting Elegance.  An aggregate of some of Jenica Rogers’ blog posts on leadership, including slides and comments from her 2011 workshop on leadership and management skills.

  • Williams, G. Librarians’ Self-Mentorship Toolkit.  This toolkit by Ginger Williams includes blogs, tweet-ers, podcasts, and more for new professionals looking for advice but who may or may not have a formal mentor.

  • Zerzan, J. T., Hess, R., Schur, E., Phillips, R. S., and Rigotti, N. (2009). Making the most of mentors: a guide for mentees. Academic Medicine, 84(1).  Although written for mentoring/mentee relationships in Academic Medicine, the principles discussed in having a successful relationship with your mentor apply to all professional fields.  This article focuses on “Managing Up” where the mentee takes the lead role in getting the most out of their mentor relationship. Also includes tips on how to find the right mentor.

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Managerial/HR Resources

  • Ask a Manager  Former chief of staff for a nonprofit organization Alison Green fields questions from both  managers and employees about a wide range of management issues: interviewing, hiring, mentoring, exercising authority and more. Applicable to library and non-library fields.

  • Carter, J., Peay, S., and Gull R. (2013, February 7). Self-directed achievement: if you give library staff an hour. OCLC Webjunction.  Archived webinar, slides and handouts available. Self-Directed Achievement is a flexible, individualized approach to staff development, achievable for staff at all levels.  Learn about goal-setting, individual accountability, and supervisory responsibility involved in this staff development method.

  • Dorning, J., Dunderdale, T., Farrell, S. L., Geraci, A., Rubin, R., and Storrs, J. (2014, April). Advocating for Better Salaries Toolkit. ALA-APA: The Organization for the Advancement of Library Employees.  This Toolkit, updated by the Committee on Salaries and Status if Library Workers, provides all library workers with strategies and resources needed for effective pay equity and advocacy.

  • Green. A. (2014, May 13). How to manage staff concerns during rapid change. The Fast Track.  Strategies for leading change amongst reluctant or hesitant employees. Applicable to library and non-library fields.

  • Manager Tools  Free, weekly podcasts that offer listeners actionable tools, strategies, and techniques for more effective managing, covering a wide range of management areas. Applicable to library and non-library fields. Also available through iTunes.

  • Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., and Switzler, A. (2011). Crucial Conversations: tools for talking when stakes are high (2 edition.). New York: McGraw-Hill.  Practical, step by step advice for engaging with others—both at work and in personal settings—being persuasive and moving decisions forwards. Applicable to library and non-library fields.

  • Smallwood, C. (Ed.). (2011). Library management tips that work. Chicago: American Library Association.  Tips for day-to-day library management, including advice on creating job manuals, organizing student workers or volunteers, developing social media outreach plans, conducting new employee orientations, handling staff shortages, and much more.

  • Waterman, E. (2012, April 4). Skills for the everyday leader. OCLC Webjunction.  Archived webinar, slides available. Director at the Hamilton East Public Library, Waterman covers 10 mistakes to avoid when stepping into a new management role, tips on getting staff buy-in, preparing for and framing difficult conversations with staff regarding behavioral and work issues. Presented in a collegial and easily accessible style.

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  • Bruno, L. Change: opportunity for growth or obstacle to overcome? Florida Library Webinars.  This webinar, presented by Linda Bruno, discusses why change is sometimes both an opportunity and an obstacle. It looks at some of the reasons for change and why most of us resist it, and how to deal with that resistance in others and in ourselves.

  • Burkhardt, A. (2011). Change agent librarians. Information Tyrannosaur.  Andy Burkhardt talks about how librarians can go about evolving and creating lasting change when faced with people and systems that actively resist change. His three points: “Change starts with you,” “Know what change you want to see,” and “You’re not alone.”

  • Design Thinking (IDEO Blog).  Blog by Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO, who frequently speaks about design thinking, innovation, and creativity. Although it does not discuss issues specific to librarians, ideas in this blog are useful to professionals in many fields and at all career levels.

  • Innovation. Online Supplement to The Atlas of New Librarianship, by R. David Lankes.  Discusses innovation, library innovation, and perspectives on organizational innovation, and includes many related resources and thought-provoking conversation-starter questions. This free online supplement to Lankes’ “The Atlas of New Librarianship” can stand alone (without purchasing the book) and is a conversation starting point.

  • Jantz, R. C. (2012). Innovation in academic libraries: an analysis of university librarians’ perspectives. Library and Information Science Research, 34(1), 3-12. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2011.07.008  From abstract: “Through a series of structured interviews, university librarians at six institutions provided their perspectives on innovation in academic libraries…In this study, university librarians’ perspectives reveal a commitment to innovation, some distinctively non-traditional innovations, and a concern for how to encourage risk-taking behavior.”

  • Journal of Library Innovation  This bi-annual, peer-reviewed, open access journal publishes original research, reports on innovative practices, literature reviews, case studies, and book, conference, and product reviews with the mission of disseminating research and information on innovative practice in libraries of all types.

  • Lankes, R. D. (2013). Engineers of innovation. NCSLMA 2013 Annual Conference. Winston-Salem, NC.  Abstract: “Innovation is a term with baggage. To some it is a nebulous concept thrown around to little effect. To others, it is a daunting task reserved for a few visionaries. In this presentation Lankes will talk about how innovation is the job of every librarian. Lankes will also talk about how innovation must be matched to a mission of learning and constant community improvement.”

  • Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup: a white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism.  This document is intended to inspire thinking using insight into startup culture and innovation methodologies. It’s a collection of talking points intended to stir the entrepreneurial spirit in library leaders at every level.

  • NEXT Library  The NEXT Library Conference is an international gathering of forward-thinking library professionals, innovators and decision-makers who are pushing boundaries and making changes that support learning in the 21st century.

  • Olin, J. (2014). When the answer is always no (or at least it seems to be). Letters to a Young Librarian.  Advice on how dealing with a “no” culture and how to get things done in an atmosphere of resistance.

  • Sanderbeck, A. Being more creative at work. Florida Library Webinars.  This webinar, presented by Andrew Sanderbeck, is filled with simple ways to unlock your creativity and to give you a fresh perspective on the problems, events, and daily happenings in your workplace. This session will show you things you can do “differently” at home and at work to increase your creative thought connection, solve problems, and generate ideas, and how to “reframe” situations to allow creativity to flow.

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  • Computers in Libraries  Held each spring in Washington, DC, Computers in Libraries bills itself as “the most comprehensive North American conference and exhibition on all aspects of library and information delivery technology.”

  • Computers in Libraries  This monthly magazine covers the rapidly changing field of library information technology and focuses on its practical application in school, public, academic, and special libraries.

  • David Lee King  David Lee King is the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and blogs about social media and emerging technology trends.

  • Internet Librarian  Held annually in October in Monterey, CA, this conference is for information professionals who are developing and using web-based technologies. Technology newbies and experts alike can find valuable learning experiences here.

  • Le, R. and Duffy, T. (2012, October 24). 50 great mobile apps for librarians. Internet Librarian Conference.  This list of useful apps for librarian, many of them free, features choices for both iOS and Android users.

  • Librarian in Black  Library director Sarah Houghton is a self-proclaimed “big technology nerd” and blogs about current trends and issues facing libraries such as digital rights management, privacy, and e-books.

  • Library Technology Guides  This site “aims to provide comprehensive and objective information related to the field of library automation” and is administered by Marshall Breeding, a library technology consultant, speaker, and author.

  • Pew Research Internet Project  Through surveys and studies, Pew Research Center compiles reports, presentations, and data visualization tools about how Americans use the internet.

  • Solomon, L. (2012). The librarian's nitty-gritty guide to social media. Chicago: American Library Association Editions.  Solomon, a librarian with extensive experience in web design and development, presents an overview of the social media world and gives tips on simple ways librarians can use tools such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with customers.

  • Technology Planning Toolkit  Developed by the Kansas State Library, librarians can find guidance and template for writing technology plans.

  • TechSoup   A nonprofit which focuses on connecting libraries with technology products and services. Free resources and articles are available to all users. Once registered and qualified with TechSoup, libraries can access donated and discounted products and services from partners such as Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Intuit, and Symantec.

  • Varnum, K. J. (Ed.) (2014). The top technologies every librarian needs to know: a LITA guide. ALA TechSource.  Varnum and other contributors, all technology leaders, show library technology staff and administrators where to invest time and money to receive the greatest benefits. Chapter topics include cloud-based library systems and open hardware.

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