by Ashley Flynn,
Library Director at Highland Community Library,
Currently reading: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Good leadership is critical to the long term success of any organization, including libraries. PaLA and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries have partnered together to create an excellent initiative designed to develop the leadership potential of librarians from all across the state. The PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies (PALS) has three different programs available to help you realize your full potential as a leader while promoting the PA Forward initiative.
The PALS program pairs leadership training with service projects designed to develop PA Forward. I graduated from PALS last year, and part of my service (along with the rest of my wonderful group members) has been contributing articles like this one to the Compendium in order to share ideas related to PA Forward. Although this is a form of “giving back,” for me it’s a continuation of the growth and development I experienced while participating in PALS.
During my time at PALS, I was able to learn a lot about my particular management style, as well as ways to leverage those inherent traits for improved leadership at my library. I was also able to meet great librarians from across the state and build my professional network. Most important for me, though, was the energizing experience of being surrounded by others who truly “get” the struggles and triumphs of being a library leader.
New this year is a PALS program specifically for library directors. PALS alumni are invited to apply, as the program’s content is different than the traditional PALS experience. It is only open to those who currently hold a library director position. The program runs from June 15 – 18 and registration, lodging and food expenses will be paid for selected participants. As in previous years, there is also a program for MLS/MLIS librarians who have demonstrated leadership potential. That program is scheduled for June 12 – 15 and costs $300. For non-degreed librarians, there is a one-day workshop available on June 11 for just $35.
“I am a graduate of the 2012 MLS program and found my experience to be professionally rejuvenating on many levels,” said Melissa Kohl, PALS Co-Chair and Manager, Information & Readers’ Services & Co-Supervisor, Funding Information Network (FIN) at Chester County Library & District Center. “I left the program with a better sense of my professional communication style and strengths. The knowledge I gained from the PALS program helped me as I continued to explore leadership positions over the next few years. PALS is a professional investment and, when combined with drive and ambition, can be extremely rewarding.”
All three PALS sessions will be held at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel and are presented by David Bendekovic of The B.A. David Company. Applications for the MLS/MLIS and Director programs should include a current resume, a letter of interest indicating why you think you’d be a good candidate, and a letter of support from either a colleague (for directors) or the nominating party (for MLS/MLIS candidates). Applications or inquiries should be directed to PALS Co-Chairs, Melissa Kohl at firstname.lastname@example.org and Stephanie Sharon at email@example.com.