Monday, January 5, 2015

Leadership in Libraries

As a New Year unfolds I want to share a few words about the role of leadership in advancing our collective mission.  Great leaders have the ability to balance vision, strategy, and communication into one package that accomplishes goals.  Over the past four years, and without any doubt, libraries across the country and here in Wisconsin have benefited from that set of skills with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) director Susan Hildreth.  The accomplishments of IMLS under her tenure have been extensive and she has positioned libraries well for the transformation they are experiencing in our society.

In Hildreth's latest post on the IMLS web site she references three exciting experiences involving library services in just December alone.  These include a White House summit on early learning, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) e-rate modernization order, and the signing of a federal budget bill that includes monies we use here in Wisconsin as part of the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States Program.  Needless to say, IMLS is a very busy place.  More importantly, the team at IMLS is thinking strategically about what citizens need from their libraries and then figuring out how their agency can build partnerships to get those needs met.  Hildreth said this:
"During these busy times, IMLS is working especially hard to connect with other federal agencies, with lawmakers on the Hill, with foundations, nonprofits, and service organizations. Through these networks and collaborations, we are amplifying the message of your work and the essential role of museums and libraries in American society."
We are following Hildreth's leadership approach in Wisconsin by modernizing our technology infrastructure, examining our business models, and focusing on repurposing resources to meet needs here at home.  And all of this comes through collaboration with each other, connecting with other government agencies, and forging private sector partnerships.  Change is a constant, and with thoughtful planning and coordination we can ensure it is done for the better of everyone in Wisconsin.

Best wishes for a New Year!

Kurt Kiefer