National Dialogue on the Curriculum of Readiness for the 21st Century Librarian

ALA Annual Conference - Chicago, Illinois - Tuesday June 28, 2005


Plenary Session I: Preparing Leaders for 21 st Century Library and Information Service

Claudette McLinn:  Yes, we thought about it, but I said, the collaboration could become so powerful with that public school and that public library meshing together to promote student achievement.

And you know about the Colorado studies, which is the main study, and that's been replicated with Texas and, I think it's New Mexico. The latest is Michigan, Ohio. That strong school libraries promote student achievement.

So if you go, if you want to know if a school is effective, if a school is very effective, walk into their school library and find out if there's activity or anything going on.

What is the point I'm making? I'm making the point that school library media specialists need to know, and a lot of my colleagues have said this, and I know I'm piggy-backing on this. Know your demographics. Know who you're working with. Don't just sit in your ivory tower.

We have schools that are collaborating, we have principals. The school library media specialist is so powerful that schools are open before school and schools are open after school, where there are students and parents checking out books and collaborating and working together.

So you need to know your demographic and respect them so that you can upgrade your collection and have your collection. That's very crucial. Reflect the student population. Not just your interests, but everyone's interests. And there are some beautiful books that are being published now.

The next thing that is important is, like I said, is to upgrade your collection. Also, you need to really tell your students to be involved with American Library Association. This association is so powerful. There are new members' round-tables. If you go on their website, they have phenomenal information about leadership.

Has anybody gone on that new member's round-tables website and looked at that? It's absolutely awesome. That's important and that's crucial, too, to get involved and encourage the students to get involved with the American Library Association. You can network with one another. You don't know who can inspire you.

For example, these people I have quoted books from. And I'm working on my Doctorate, and it's so fabulous, all these great leaders. You don't know whose shoulders the students are going to stand on.

Next thing is be open to technology. We have a situation where the old guard is staying with the old guard, and the new guard is going with the new guard. What's happening is schools are being automated, and a lot of the old guard feels that the basic information is very important.

The new guard feels as though the basic information is not important. But remember, the basic information is very important as well as the new information.

Our colleagues got in a bid discussion, and I was looking at the history of Dewey and his gang. And it was like, should we do this, and should we do that.


Have you read the history about Dewey? He was a fireball. And should we go this way, and should we go that? The big argument is because schools are being automated, the young that have come along in our group has said, well, we don't need to know. They don't need to know author, title, and subject cards.

And the old group said, oh, yes they do. But there's a happy medium with this. They have to know the basics. Diversity.

Diversity, as my esteemed colleagues have said, is very, very important. But one thing I want you to always remember. Be sensitive to the needs of people's feelings in terms of -- I mean, little, bitty things I see in the schools. Where they have pictures, visuals and certain things. Be sensitive to that.

Diversity and having the materials and providing the materials there, and respect the people's culture. That's very important.

Another thing, also, is to be kind. Be kind and respectful. Because you don't know your role, we don't know how powerful we are. We don't know who is admiring us, we don't know who is looking up to us. And we need to be kind. We need to always create that light and energy.

And I don't mean you don't have to be, you know, [deepens voice] this and that, and that and there. [Back to normal voice]

But you can be powerful individuals in your own way, and be sensitive. There are some books that I want to suggest that I think are very important, my favorite books. One I really love, "The Art of Possibility."

If you're familiar with "The Art of Possibility," these are leadership books by Zander and Zander. And they have ten practices. It says, "Step into the realm of possibility." Anything is possible in life. Anything is possible.

Also, "Give Yourself an A." I just love that. And, "Leading From Any Chair." You don't have to be up front all the time to be a leader. You can sit over in the corner, silent, and you're still leading from any chair. That's very important.

Another book that's really important is, "Primal Leadership," and "Goldman." Goldman is very important in terms of emotional intelligence, EQ. A lot time, now, it's not IQ, it's EQ. That's interpersonal skills, that's how you get along with people. Very, very important.

What I like about the "Primal Leadership" is, and the reason why I'm mentioning that is because, remember in Library School, we don't get that leadership aspect. But the reason why I'm mentioning the "Primal Leadership" is he's enhanced his EQ study, Goldman and his two colleagues. And he has six very important leadership styles.

And I won't go into them, because I know you're going to look at the book and see that. And there are about five or six that are very important to you. Then there's two more that you only use sparingly. And I got a very good example of that.

A leader that I had to deal with is commanding style. And really, be careful in using commanding style. I just want to say that.


Because this leader is in a situation where he, or she, I won't say who it is, was using commanding style, and now, he or she needs the colleague. So the flip side is coming democratic style. But the democratic style isn't working because the commanding style was the real picture. So that's important.

Another book that I really love is "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruis. Are you familiar with that? Oh. Well, they have -- OK. You love it?

Audience Member:  I like it.

Claudette McLinn:  Don't you love it. OK. I love that too. OK, so those are, like, don't make assumptions. Always do your best. Don't take anything personally. So, I just want to say that leaders are kind. They are pluralistic. They care about one another.

You should use that pluralistic model in terms of being fair and equitable. When dealing with people that's vary important as a leader. Wouldn't you say?

Being fair and equitable in dealing with people. And know your intention. Sometimes, you have to sit and be a little quiet. And always think about what is my intention? Is my intention to serve or to be served? Think about your intention.

And then, I have three minutes left. I want to end with a quote about libraries, the future of libraries. And this quote is from my favorite, Rudolpho Anaya. And he says, "A library should be the heart of a city." And I'm adding school, too.

A school library, a public library, an academic library should be "the heart of a city, with a storehouse of knowledge. It liberates, it informs, it teaches and enthralls. A library, indeed, should be the cultural center of any city amidst the bustle of work and commerce.

The great libraries of the world have provided a sanctuary where scholars and the common man, alike, can come to enlarge and clarify knowledge. To read and reflect in quiet solitude."

Thank you so much.


Rhea Brown Lawson: Thank you, Claudette.