PLA Leadership Development

Toby Greenwalt

formerly Skokie (Ill.) Public Library, currently Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Toby Greenwalt, PLA Leadership Fellow“My leadership project involves developing new ways to analyze library metrics. To this end, my project partners and I have been working to aggregate all the information collected from every department in the [Skokie Public Library]. The first big step will be to get everything in one place. Having a uniform collection point for all our data metrics will make it easier to see everything at a glance, and help us move toward apples-to-apples comparisons between departments.

I’ve also been working with data analysts from the Village office to identify trends in demographic analysis. My hope is that by working together we can find better ways for the library to position itself in community affairs. It’s certainly been an education to see how the village looks at civic data, and keeping the lines of communication open between the two organizations makes it easy for each of us to share new ideas.

Within my library, I’ve been working to reconcile the work of multiple departments, each with their own values and ways of defining success. At the same time, I’m looking to build connections between the library and outside groups, so that current and new metrics fall in line with broader community needs and goals.

This in a nutshell defines how the PLA Leadership Academy has refined my vision of community librarianship. There’s a network of interlocking systems at work in all organizations, and it’s a true test of leadership to develop ways to make them work together. I’m grateful for how this experience has opened my eyes, and for sharing certain tools.”