TALL Texans 2014
The TALL Texans Leadership Development Institute provides advanced leadership and management education in service to all the libraries of Texas and the communities they serve. Participants study strategic planning, risk-taking, conflict negotiation, team building, coaching, ethics, advocacy, personal career planning, and more. This transformational program helps attendees learn and embrace their potential to take new initiative for their institutions, their profession, and their stakeholders. This year’s Institute was held June 15-18 at the Montserrat Retreat Center, Lake Dallas, TX. During the days of the Institute, participants learned about these topics in a variety of formats, including large group instruction, small group discussions, and time for individual assessment and planning.
This year’s class of 24 students, included librarians from public libraries, elementary, middle, and high school libraries, and college and university libraries. Emily Hurst (Technology Coordinator) and Cheryl Rowan (Consumer Health Coordinator) from the NN/LM South Central Region office were also part of this year’s class. In addition, six mentors joined the group for all sessions and were available for one-on-one conversation with participants. The mentors were: Sharon Amastae, recently retired from Ysleta ISD in El Paso (TLA President 2014-15); Susan Mann, Library Director at Hillsboro City Library, and TLA 2014-2015 President Elect; Dan Burgard, Library Director at the UNT Health Science Center; Dr. Martin Halbert, Dean of the University of North Texas Libraries; Dr. Loriene Roy, Professor at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin and also a past president of ALA; and Susan Geye, Coordinator of Library Services at Everman ISD.
Maureen Sullivan and Jack Siggins served as instructors and facilitators. Maureen Sullivan is an organizational development consultant to libraries and other information organizations. Sullivan is currently on the faculty of the annual ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute and is a professor of practice in the new Ph.D./Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions program at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Sullivan is also a past president of ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) and LLAMA (Library Leadership, Administration, and Management Association), and is Past President of the American Library Association in 2013-14.Her husband, Jack Siggins, has recently retired as head of the Gelman Library at George Washington University in Washington, D.C, since 1995. Previously he served for ten years as Deputy University Librarian at Yale University. He has also held positions at the Library of Congress, the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of Chicago. This year marked the 20th year that Maureen and Jack have served as facilitators for TALL Texans.
The Leadership Development Institute is the major activity by which the Texas Library Association (TLA) endeavors to provide a statewide impetus for expanded leadership education opportunities for all TLA members. More information is available from the TLA website: TALL Texans.
Both Emily and Cheryl expressed gratitude at the opportunity to be a part of this community of Texas Library leaders.
Reflections from Emily: “The TALL Texans Leadership Institute endeavors to provide leadership minded librarians with an overview of many different aspects of leadership. Facilitators do an excellent job of distilling information on leadership and leading discussions for the group. I have always been aware the writing on leadership seems voluminous and then even knowing what research to trust on this topic seems daunting. Maureen and Jack were excellent guides on the leadership literature. Sharing their wealth of experience and research with the group provided us all with valuable resources and information for further review.
During my time at TALL Texans I began to appreciate the challenges all librarians have to contend with. No matter what type of library; school, public, academic, or special all of the leadership information provided was relatable and relevant. During each session attendees had the opportunity to ask probing questions of the facilitators and to share experiences. Mentors as well as other attendees provided insights into aspects of leadership in their everyday life. There were so many moments to learn and grow together through the training.
Some of my favorite activities including an exercise on coaching where groups were able to practice the role of the coach, the client, and the listener. This exercise made me aware that some of the reactions that I have that seem to come naturally are valuable leadership qualities. In addition taking time to reflect on the topics or exercises was invaluable. In our busy day-to-day lives taking time to reflect on our activities is often neglected. Overall found the reflection time to be some of the best for arranging my thoughts and taking of ways the information that was just covered would be applicable in everyday life.
All in all the information provided at the institute was very valuable or anyone interested in leadership roles in professional organizations or management positions. It is important that anyone moving into these types of positions have the proper training and experience so that they can provide those they lead or management with a safe, organized, and effective environment in which to learn and grow. Without strong leaders with proper leadership training institutions and organizations can falter.”
Comments from Cheryl: “The TALL Texans Institute was a great time to learn from both theory and practice of the instructors, mentors, and participants. I especially enjoyed the time for personal reflection and assessment and the opportunities to meet and learn from fellow students. I look forward to developing deeper relationships with many of these individuals. I loved seeing our SCC/MLA mascot “up close and personal too!”