Library Leadership Ohio

The biannual library conference connects participants to a network of fellow library leaders and equips them with the leadership skills to positively impact their communities.

State Library of Ohio invests in future leaders with library conference

Long recognized as Ohio’s premier library conference for helping future leaders identify and develop their skills, Library Leadership Ohio (LLO) is a hands-on opportunity to grow professionally and meet talented librarians from across the state.

The State Library of Ohio, OhioNET, and The Ivy Group joined forces for LLO 2018, the team's fourth consecutive library conference. Funding for the conference was made possible thanks to an LSTA grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), awarded by the State Library of Ohio.

The planning team includes a diverse group of experienced library professionals, including:

  • Pam Fitzgerald, Managing Director of The Ivy Group
  • Cathi Alloway, Director of Schlow Library and Ivy Group consultant
  • Christine Morris, OhioNET Deputy Director
  • Missy Lodge, Associate State Librarian for Library Development
  • Michael Butler, OhioNET Executive Director

The Ivy Group team led the charge on conference branding, program development, speaker recruitment, and session facilitation.

A leadership program to reinvent librarianship

The 2018 conference centered on reinvention: reinventing the library industry, spaces, mindsets, and the leaders themselves. With the "reinvention" theme in mind, sessions underscored the importance of communication, compassion, and collaboration.

Loida Garcia Febo
A speaker preview series on LLO's Facebook page promoted conference presenters.

Strengths Finder workshop identifies core strengths and how to leverage them

A top-rated workshop year after year, Strengths Finder with Paul Hilt jumpstarts the program. The hands-on workshop begins with results from each participant's Strengths Finder exam, which identifies their top five core strengths.

Paul leads the participants through a series of exercises to understand their strengths and strategize how to apply them. As a result of the strengths application exercises, participants gain insights from past situations and identify approaches to work, collaborate, and lead more effectively in the future.

[Strengths Finder] was cathartic for me. I am now so excited to see what I can do to grow my strengths and improve on my connections to others.


Librarians get in touch with their inner leaders during Managing from the Middle

The Ivy Group's Pam Fitzgerald presents Managing from the Middle, operating on the idea that successful management is nurture, not nature. Management is not a function of circumstance but a matter of conscious choice and discipline. Both management and leadership require situational and self-awareness, starting with an understanding of the three primary leadership styles: top-down, delegative, and participatory.

After describing each leadership style, Pam challenges participants to identify when to use each style to achieve their desired outcome. The group also works through exercises to recognize situations where others are applying a leadership style so that they can effectively operate under each type of leader.

Not only did [Managing from the Middle] help me understand different management styles, it helped me identify how I am being led and how to respond to different leadership types.


Public Library Association President inspires with case for building community with "new nostalgia"

At the 2018 conference, Pam Sandlian Smith, President, Public Library Association and Director of Anythink Libraries, introduced "Creating New Nostalgia". The idea behind new nostalgia is that public libraries are being "loved to death" by old nostalgia that boxes them into being small, quiet buildings filled with books.

Instead, she suggests that flexible, inclusive, and comfortable spaces are a cornerstone of the twenty-first century library. Most importantly, libraries should build communities that invite the public to become part of something beyond the library building.

Pam challenged participants to ask themselves what inspires them about their careers in librarianship. With that inspiration and the community's needs in mind, "new nostalgia" reinvents the library as a people infrastructure.

PLA President Pam Sandlian-Smith presents on the importance of libraries building communities

Additional library leadership programming from past years has included:

  • Felton Thomas, Director of Cleveland Public Library, Pam Sandlian Smith, PLA President, and library leaders -"Dear Prudence" problem solving sessions and Q&A
  • Loida Garcia Febo, ALA President – The benefits of membership to professional associations
  • Gerald Schwab, Customer Service Manager of Columbus Metropolitan Library - A practical guide for handling difficult conversations
  • Jeff Modzelewski, Community Organizer - Strategies for addressing single-story bias
  • Richard Kong, Director of Skokie Public Library - How to create a culture of innovation and compassion

For successful leaders, connections and community-building are as important as skill development. The conference introduced participants to ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo, connected them to LLO alumni at Dine Arounds, and provided opportunities to network with the Ohio State Library Board.

Future library leaders are ready to tackle tomorrow

The LLO library conference is a feather in OhioNET's cap; the 2018 participants rated the conference a 4.7/5, and 100% would recommend the library conference. Each conference cycle, Ohio's future library leaders emerge feeling empowered to engineer change back home. With a deeper understanding of their leadership strengths, more management tools in their toolbox, and a network of peers across the state, Ohio's future library leaders are ready to tackle tomorrow.

Fantastic! I feel ready to get my hands dirty.