Writing our Story: Building a Community of Practice for Library Managers from within

Material Information

Writing our Story: Building a Community of Practice for Library Managers from within
Series Title:
ACRL 2019
Shorey, Christy
Jerome, Melissa
Heckathorn, Jason
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
Conference Poster


In 2016, a two-day Management Training and Community Building event was conducted for the middle managers (non- librarian/faculty) of the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida. This interactive training addressed managerial skills such as meeting facilitation, analysis and decision making, and managing conflict. The idea behind this session was to provide skills to this oft overlooked cohort, and create a community of practice for the participants.
This idea was revisited with participants in late 2017, where they expressed the desire for a community of practitioners and internal experts who can learn from one another, request and deliver trainings, and discuss procedures and workflows, in order to better address the pragmatic challenges the middle managers face. The result was the development of the Library Middle Management and Leadership Team (LMMLT). The goals of this peer-led group are to 1) create and share knowledge, 2) offer pertinent trainings, and 3) develop a platform for sharing knowledge and relevant information. Unlike similar initiatives at other institutions, this group is led by members of the group, and not library HR or administration. A faculty liaison represents the group to the administration, and the training program manager facilitates organization of training sessions.
To date, this community of practitioners have not only worked to define their vision for the LMMLT, but also began implementing that vision. To ensure the LMMLT is truly a peer-led group, members have drafted a mission and vision, participated in an internal survey to solicit feedback on the direction of the group, and organized a "Collaborating with Strangers" (CoLab) event to get to know one another and build trust. To meet the needs of continued communication and resource sharing, as well as growing skills, the LMMLT has also conducted training on development of personal biographies, and about web platforms of interest such as Basecamp and Libguides.
The middle managers cohort oversees the majority of staff, which make up 3/4 of our organization, serving as conduits sharing information between library administration and those on the front lines. The group seeks to encourage members to share personal backgrounds, experience, expertise and interests in order to support professional development, and empower staff in their continued efforts to implement policies, make decisions, and communicate the Libraries’ vision.
The poster provides more information on this group’s origins, the need for this group, who its members are, and how it compares to similar middle manager focused groups at other institutions. It showcases examples of what the group has accomplished, challenges faced along the way, stories from members, and a glimpse at future plans.
Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Christy Shorey.
General Note:
Presented 4/11/2019 at ACRL 2019; Recasting the Narrative

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Creators holder. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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