ACRL/NY Symposium: Emerging Leadership in Academic Libraries, 12/4/09

The Association of College and Research Libraries/Greater New York Metropolitan Area Chapter held a conference the other day on the topic of leadership in academic libraries. Queens College sent me as their student representative and I want to thank both Dr. Blake and ACRL/NY for the honor and opportunity (especially since I was going to pay to go and instead got in free and a $50 B&N gift card (already spent it)).Originally, there was a problem as it seems that Queens never confirmed my coming or something got lost. Either way, after a brief moment of sweating (especially since I confirmed with QC the evening before), everything was worked out. By the way, why do I always bring a folder, paper, and pen to these meetings? They always provide those items. The setting was delightful at Baruch college and there was plenty to eat (always a plus). I met some very interesting people and saw some peers (one of whom ignored me, perhaps angered over my free pass), and generally had a very good time as well as learning a great deal. My only complaint is that I disagree with the speakers' view of "leadership." To me, leadership in an academic library is referring to someone who oversees the institution, recognizes the trends of the future and guides the institution toward it, all the while focusing on the purpose of serving the students. The speakers, while both acknowledging and somewhat dismissing the distinction, spoke of "management." I see management as they saw leadership: someone who works with/for a group and gets that team of people motivated to be their best and accomplish specific tasks. Perhaps the problem was that the speakers were relatively young and worked as managers, thus seeing what they did as leadership (as in they were leading a group to a goal) as opposed to a larger picture of the term. Who can blame them though, they believed what they were saying and it was a great advancement opportunity for them.

I also want to compliment ACRL/NY for including a 'zine about their event. Well done!