2018 Midwinter Meeting - LLAMA Career Institute

Moving into Leadership: Transitioning into a New Role
Friday, February 9, 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Do you see yourself as a future supervisor, manager, director or dean? If so, this career institute is for you. Eight experienced academic, medical, and public library leaders will share how they prepared for leadership roles, and how they identified priorities and focused their energy as new leaders. They will also discuss the role of mentors and mentoring in their professional development.  There will be interactive sessions throughout the day, with panelists facilitating tabletop discussions on leadership topics, and there will also be time for informal conversations with panelists and your colleagues.


Pre-registration is recommended; on-site registration will be subject to availability. The fee includes workshop materials and lunch: LLAMA Member $145; ALA Member $195; Other Member (Retired, Student, Trustee, Non-Salaried, Support Staff) $75; Non-Member $295. To register online now just look for Ticketed Events on the ALA Midwinter Meeting site, then search for LLAMA Institute (Event Code: LLA2).


Each of the panelists has had a unique career path. Some have moved up to the senior role from within the same organization, while others have moved from one organization to another to assume the leadership role. Several are new to their leadership roles.

Melissa DeSantis
Michelle Jeske
Kimberly Johnson
Michael Levine-Clark
Gary Shaffer
John Spears
Mark Stover
Lisa Traditi

Melissa De Santis serves as the Director of the Health Science Library at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, a position she was appointed to in April of 2016. She joined the UC Health Sciences Library in December 2007 shortly after the library moved to the Anschutz Medical Campus and served as Deputy Director and Interim Director before being appointed Director. Prior to joining the Health Sciences Library, Melissa worked at the Briscoe Library of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio for 12 years. She is active in professional associations at the local (Colorado Council of Medical Librarians), regional (Midcontinental Chapter of MLA) and national level (Medical Library Association and Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries). She was selected for the 2012 – 2013 cohort of the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, an executive leadership training program for health sciences library directors. Melissa received her Master’s in Library and Information Science from UCLA.

As the Denver City Librarian, Michelle Jeske leads the 26-location urban library system which logs more than 4.4 million annual visitors. Appointed City Librarian in 2015, Jeske has worked for the Denver Public Library since 2001 and served in a number of various positions at the library including the director of Collections, Technology and Innovation and Manager of Web Information Services and the Community Technology Center. Prior to the Denver Public Library, Jeske worked for the TCL CARL Corporation, the San Antonio Public Library, and the New York Public Library. Her honors include Public Library Association Leadership Fellow, Colorado Librarian of the Year and Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Michelle earned her Master’s of Librarianship from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She also holds a Master’s Certificate in Organizational Development from Colorado State University. Jeske is active professionally and serves on the PLA Board of Directors, PLA Family Engagement Task Force and PLA 2018 National Conference Subcommittee and is currently chairing the ALA Nominating Committee for the 2018 ALA Election. In Denver, she is active in numerous city and community groups focused on youth and community engagement and is a passionate advocate for the public library’s democratic role in the community.

Kimberly Johnson is a life-long learner and advocate of literacy. She moved to Tulsa from the Bronx borough of New York, earning her B.A. from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Passionate about Oklahoma’s rich African-American culture, Johnson joined the Tulsa City-County Library in 1998 as the coordinator of the African-American Resource Center at Rudisill Regional Library. For seven years, she worked to collect, preserve and provide access to resources honoring and documenting the experiences of people of African descent. During this time, Johnson established the library’s first countywide public tour to Oklahoma’s historic all-black towns, and developed partnerships with publishing companies that have resulted in visits by renowned authors such as the 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones. Johnson is also credited with creating the first countywide public reading project, “Tulsa Metro Reads,” as well as a readers and writers conference that was televised nationally on C-SPAN/Book TV. In 2005, Johnson was promoted to manager of the South Broken Arrow Library. With a knack for building successful teams, an ability to handle complex projects, and a passion for service to customers and staff, Johnson was promoted again in 2010 to manage the Hardesty Regional Library, one of the largest and busiest libraries in the Tulsa City-County Library system. Just two short years later, she became regional director over 11 library locations. In March 2013, Johnson was promoted to deputy director, chief innovation officer where she was instrumental in customizing library buildings and services to meet the demands of the 21st century user. In 2015, she assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer, working closely with Shaffer who was the Chief Executive Officer. Then, in January 2017, Johnson was named Chief Executive Officer of the Tulsa City-County Library. Johnson has received many awards and recognitions during her extensive career with the library. She received the Madam President Award for Women Who Could Be President. She is the recipient of Tulsa Business and Legal News - Women of Distinction Leadership Award. She has also received the Pinnacle Award from the Tulsa Women's Foundation and the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women.

Michael Levine-Clark is the Dean of the University of Denver Libraries. Prior to taking this position, he was the Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Collections Services, also at the University of Denver. An active member of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) in the American Library Association (ALA), he has served most recently as chair of the Collection Management Section. With colleagues from the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, he founded the open access journal Collaborative Librarianship, and continues to serve as co-editor. In addition, he is the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences 4th edition, serves on editorial boards of several journals, and is the recipient of the 2015 Harrasowitz Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award for his work on e-books and demand-driven acquisition. As co-chair of the NISO Recommended Practices for Demand-Driven Acquisition of Monographs Working Group, he was one of the lead authors of the recommended practices document. He serves on a variety of national and international publisher and vendor library advisory boards and a range of committees within library professional organizations. He writes and speaks regularly on implications of discovery service implementation and trends in academic library collection development practices.

Gary Shaffer, Ph.D., serves as the head of the Master of Management in Library & Information Science (MMLIS) program at the Marshall School of Business and its corresponding Certificate in Library Management (CLM) program for those who already possess a MLIS. He also serves as Assistant Dean/Director of USC Libraries Center for Library Leadership & Management all at the University of Southern California. Shaffer is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Tulsa City-County Library, a 24-location public library system, with over 405 employees located in Northeastern Oklahoma. Shaffer started his library career as a trainee in the joint Brooklyn Public Library and Pratt Institute Public Urban Library Service Education (PULSE) program. He then worked for the Los Angeles County and Sacramento public libraries. Prior to working in libraries, Shaffer supervised Fortune 500 accounts for various advertising agencies. Shaffer received his Ph.D. in Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions from Simmons College. In addition to his Ph.D., Shaffer holds a Master’s of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute, and a Master of Laws in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Turin School of Law. In addition to being a new member of LLAMA, he is also a member of ALA, ALISE, IFLA, PLA, and SLA. In ALA, he is active with the Committee on Library Advocacy, the ALA Development Task Force, and the Sustainability Roundtable. He previously served for four years on the PLA board, as well as a three-year term on ALA Council. In 2006, he was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker. Shaffer also advocates for copyright reform on behalf of libraries and archives, as a member of the IFLA delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He recently published a book Creating the Sustainable Public Library for ABC-CLIO’s Libraries Unlimited imprint.

John Spears has been Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) since early 2016. He has nearly 20 years of experience working in urban, suburban, and rural libraries, and prior to coming to PPLD he served as Director of libraries in Salt Lake City (UT), Naperville (IL), and Joliet (IL).  John is the Past President of the Library Leadership and Management Association, serves on the Professional Development Team of ALA President Elect Loida Garcia-Febo’s Advisory Committee, and is active in the Public Library Association as a contributing editor to Public Libraries and co-author of “Forward Thinking,” a column that explores trends in public librarianship. In addition to his work in the library profession, John is passionate about serving those experiencing homelessness and the arts, serving on the Governing Board of the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care and the Boards of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association, Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, and Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs.

Mark Stover, Ph.D., has served as Dean of the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge since 2011, where he leads a staff of 90 staff members and librarians. He previously held a variety of faculty and administrative positions at San Diego State University, Phillips Graduate Institute, and Calvin College. At CSUN, he has overseen several multi-million dollar renovations, and provided leadership for the first campus Open Access Policy in the CSU. Dr. Stover was the 2007 recipient of the American Psychological Association "Excellence in Librarianship" Award, and the 2006 recipient of the San Diego State University Alumni Association “Outstanding Faculty Contribution” Award.  He was editor of Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian from 2000 – 2006, and was editor of the Journal of Religious & Theological Information from 2008 – 2012.  After earning a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in religious studies, he earned a Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) from UCLA and a Ph.D. in information science from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Stover has published journal articles and has given conference presentations on a variety of topics, including knowledge management, ethics, reference services, library management, distance education, and web design.  He has worked as a consultant, librarian, editor, instructor, and library administrator. Dr. Stover has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has authored many articles in a variety of journals, including Reference Services Review, Library Management, and Library Trends.  He is the author of the book Leading the Wired Organization: The Information Professional's Guide to Managing Technological Change (Neal-Schuman, 1999).  He is also the editor of two other books and the former president of the Association of Mental Health Librarians. In addition, he is a member of several editorial boards, and has been the Executive Secretary of the CSUN WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) advisory board since 2011.

Lisa Traditi is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Health Science Library at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Traditi worked as a hospital librarian for 9 years in the Denver metropolitan area before joining the faculty of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library in 1996. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Medical Library Association, is the immediate past chair of the Midcontinental Chapter of MLA, and is an advisory board member for the University of Denver School of Library and Information Science. She received her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Arizona and is a Distinguished member of the Medical Library Association's Academy of Health Information Professionals. She serves as the local coordinator for Supporting Clinical Care: An Institute in Evidence-Based Practice for Medical Librarians and is Director of the Evidence Based Medicine course in the Physician Assistant curriculum at UC’s Anschutz Medical Campus. She has published in the areas of evidence-based practice, nursing research, and managing health care libraries. She is a recipient of the CCML Marla Graber Award and the MCMLA Bernice Hetzner Award.

Learning Outcomes

You will:

  • Learn about the different career paths of library leaders from a variety of types of libraries;
  • Explore how a library leader new to their role identifies priorities, focuses their energy, and manages their time;
  • Hear advise from library leaders about what they encountered – expected and unexpected – in a new leadership role;
  • Understand the role and importance of mentors and mentoring for aspiring leaders; and
  • Identify what knowledge, experience, and competencies they need to develop in order to position themselves for a leadership role

The institute supports development in several of LLAMA's foundational leadership competencies, including communication skills, change management, collaboration and partnerships, problem solving, and evidence-based decision making

About the Career Institute

Introduced at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting, the LLAMA Career Institute is a continuing education offering aimed at early-career professionals and professionals at any career stage seeking to acquire new knowledge, skills, and competencies in support of active and ongoing career development or potential career changes. Previous institute topics have been: Planning Your Next Career Move: Developing a Game Plan (2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting/Seattle); Writing & Editing: Developing Career Skills and Building Your Professional Reputation (2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting/Philadelphia); Project Management for Librarians: Planning for Success (2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting/Chicago); and Mind Over Matter: Sustainable Success for Library Leaders (2015 ALA Annual Conference/San Francisco); What Matters, A Workshop for Developing and Articulating Our Values (2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting/Boston); Noticing Self:  Developing Emotional Intelligence Skills for Professionals and Leaders (ALA Midwinter Meeting/Atlanta); and Cultural Proficiency for Library Leaders (2017 ALA Annual Conference/Chicago).