Finding Library Futures, 5: “I Was Elected To Lead, Not To Read” – Thoughts On Library Leadership

Part 5 in my series on Finding Library Futures.

In my travels, I’ve met some incredible and inspiring library leaders. Managers and specialists delivering incredible stuff: people like Hamish Curry, the Melbournian library superhero who gets kids making Ned Kelly armour in his library, or Adrienne Hannan in the New Zealand capital Wellington, a children’s and youth specialist whose role outside traditional management structures gives her freedom and flexibility to innovate. But sometimes libraries’ own bureaucracy impedes them: sometimes, even when the media, local communities, and local politicians, too, are supporting libraries’ attempts to be audacious, internal process can be an obstacle. So – here’s three thoughts on a style of leadership which will let libraries be the sword-hand of literacy and the major cultural player they so clearly ought to be in the new Information Age.

1. Library leaders need to be librarians.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking my role out of existence – outsiders to library service have a value in stirring the pot, bringing in new ideas, cross-pollinating between librarianship, education, theatre, creative writing, marketing, etc – but I truly believe that the people at the head of a library organisation need to have walked the floor, stacked the shelves, held their own on a desk shift, and put contact plastic on a few books in their time. Read more

Australian National Year of Reading launches with Paint the Town REaD

Barbie Bates and Rhonda Brain of Paint the Town REaD visit David Bradbury MP in Canberra
Paint the Town REaD comes to Canberra - Barbie Bates & Rhonda Brain visit David Bradbury MP

Australia’s National Year of Reading 2012 was launched today, 14 February, in the capital city, Canberra.

My colleagues Barbie and Rhonda of Paint the Town REaD were on hand to celebrate the launch with David Bradbury, MP for Penrith.

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