Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Leadership in Libraries

Megan Ondricek

Nature is teasing me right now with some shockingly mild and beautiful weather for February, making everyone think that spring is coming. As such, I’ve been thinking about seeds. Not the kind that are already trying to sprout in my backyard, but rather, the kind that germinate in one’s mind to invoke new ideas and ways of thinking. This semester has planted the seeds of some new ideas in my mind – ideas that I never thought I’d have.

Our professor for Academic Libraries is currently the Dean of Library Services at her institution, which is academic-speak for “the boss.” As such, she brings the very interesting perspective of library management and library administration – one that I have not gotten much of in my other courses at Simmons. What makes this doubly interesting for me is that my dad, who has spent his entire professional career as an English professor, has also recently found himself in a position of leadership and administration. Both my Academic Libraries professor and my dad have been thrust into these leadership roles without having actually sought them out.

So all of a sudden I’ve been thinking about leadership and management and it’s like the universe is giving me all these hints that this is something I should at least explore a little more. We had a guest speaker in class a few weeks ago who was the library director at a private junior boarding school and she said something to the effect of not discounting your own leadership potential. I have definitely always considered myself NOT leadership material, and I’ve never given much thought to the alternative.

I see library leadership not as a role I will pursue, but as a possibility I would like to be prepared for. I think many library directors could say that they didn’t start out with the goal of becoming a director. Suppose at some point in my career the opportunity arises that I’m uniquely suited for – one in which I could do a lot of good in an area I feel passionately about. I’d like to at least be amenable and open to the idea, and have some experience and skills to back me up.

In the meantime, I have a lot more to learn about libraries and a lot more to learn about leadership and management. But now that the seed has been planted, maybe I’ll pay just a little more attention to the examples of other leaders I admire. Maybe I’ll consider taking on more leadership opportunities in my personal and professional life, when I wouldn’t have before. Maybe I’ll look at my own personality traits in a different way. I don’t know where this thought process will lead – whether the seeds will eventually wither away or grow to bear fruit. I do know that all good ideas have to start somewhere!