Tips for Talking about the Report with a Supervisor

So, you’ve familiarized yourself with the YALSA Future of Libraries for and with Teens: A Call to Action report and have thought about its implications for your library and community. Now what? While libraries vary in size, type, reporting structures, services, budgets, and communities served, there are common approaches to take when informing supervisors of the report and what it means to libraries.

TIP: Read through the report one last time taking notes on what resonates most with you, what would resonate most with your supervisor, what aligns most closely with your organization’s current mission, and what you think is most relevant for your community.

Begin the conversation

If your supervisor is unfamiliar with the report: bring the full report, executive summary, and/or the YALSA canned presentations about the report to your supervisor’s attention.

TIP: Introduce the report in the way that best suits your supervisor’s personal preference/style (email, a phone call, an in-person, conversation or meeting, etc.). For example, if your supervisor is detail-oriented and prefers a lot of background information, let them know about the full report. If they appreciate brevity, give them  the executive summary to read.

During your initial introduction, be brief. Highlight a few key ideas and pieces of information that will resonate with your supervisor. If your supervisor likes to be on the forefront of trends highlight what would appeal to them in that area. If your supervisor is not always comfortable with change, focus on what you’re already implementing and how minor changes could increase effectiveness. Let them know that you would like to develop a teen services implementation plan for your library and that you would like to follow-up once you’ve created an initial plan.

If your supervisor is already familiar with the report but there is no momentum yet for reimagined teen services: Follow up with a request that you begin to determine the needs of teens in your community and assess how well current teen services at your library address those needs.

TIP: The report calls for a whole library/school approach to reimagined teen services. This means you should involve your library colleagues, key community members and teens in the planning process as early as possible. Getting early buy-in and developing a collaborative approach to your library’s teen services plan will be beneficial to developing successful and lasting services.

Develop your initial plan

Using your notes on the report and the questions to guide local assessment and planning in the report (p. 31), begin to develop a needs assessment plan. You may also want to present the following information to your supervisor in your follow-up meeting.

  • Highlight the benefits of this newly envisioned approach to teen services as they relate to the whole library/school connecting it to your library/school’s mission, vision, strategic plan, and overall priorities for the library/school.
  • Celebrate the areas of the report your library is already implementing and the services for teens that are already thriving.
  • Identify a few critical report recommendations that you could easily implement and develop a proposal that includes a timeline and assessment plan for how to move these key service areas forward through an initial needs assessment.  For needs assessment resources, visit the Community Tool Box site.

TIP: You will want to use the information you present to help frame your needs assessment.

Reach out to schedule your follow-up meeting

Give your supervisor time to read and digest the report. Then, ask to set up your follow-up meeting to discuss the report and its implementation at your library/school. Remind your supervisor you will be bringing your initial plan to the meeting. If your supervisor admits that they haven’t read the information you submitted, give them more time or offer to summarize it at your meeting. You may want to submit a proposed agenda for the meeting at that time.

At the meeting

  • Be a good listener.
  • Discuss what you both found interesting and challenging about the report. Listen carefully to any concerns your supervisor might have and talk through potential challenges. Anticipate areas of discomfort, and come prepared with some suggestions for easy implementation strategies and ways to overcome some of those challenges.
  • Share examples from libraries near you or some of these libraries.
  • Present your initial plan, including a timeline and assessment plan. Ask them for feedback, and discuss the best way to move forward in the future.
  • Ask for permission to begin moving forward with a needs assessment.
  • Ask your supervisor if they would like to work with you to develop the plan after they have had time to review and reflect.
  • Make sure you walk away from the meeting with a few action items for the both of you which could include:
    • Beginning a needs assessment
    • Having additional follow-up meetings
    • Sharing the report with all staff to discuss its implementation with them
    • Holding an appropriate forum with key stakeholders where you present the report and co-develop ideas for  reimagined teen services at your library/school
    • Developing a strategic plan for teen services at your library using the report as your framework, or--if your supervisor is not open to a separate strategic plan--find ways to incorporate teen services into your existing or future strategic plans for the library.

TIP: You may want to mention the ways supervisors can get involved in moving the future of teen services in libraries forward (page 26 in the report).