Reflecting on ILEAD USA


Description of the Program

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the first third of ILEAD USA (Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover). ILEAD USA is a nine month program that allows librarians to work in groups to solve a community problems. I am lucky enough to work with a variety of librarians to find ways to encourage digital information literacy. During this process, we are recieving a variety of training in leadership, technology, and other library skills.

My Favorite Presentations

It would be impossible to cover all the sessions that were provided over the course of 3 days. I just wanted to pick a few that I really got a lot out of.

Chrisopher Miller’s thoughts on Design Thinking-When we get bogged down in problems, we sometimes can’t see the woods from the trees. We get focused on quick fixes to our problems instead of looking at the problem. We keep imagining that innovation is a skill, and keep searching for people with that skill, but innovation is a tool that we are all capable of using.  As librarians, sometimes we need a fresh perspective. This program encourages public, school, and academic librarians to have a converation, and that is something that doesn’t happen often. When we are trying to fix problems, we have to be aware of the needs of our community, technology trends, and trends in the customer experience. This design thinking is a blend of culture, process, and skill.

Hadiyah Cleveland’s advice on grantwriting– Grantwriting is something I’ve been trying to improve on, and I found her advice clear and structured.

Eli Neilburger, Flatland: A statistical romance of many dimensions-This presentation was streamed in for us, but it was an interesting perspective on programming. It was great to see the depth of complexity involved in the programming in the Ann Arbor Library System. One thing I always am looking for interesting new programming that would be a good fit for our school. I was also impressed with his remarks on library branding and encouraging patrons to “love their library.” We are nothing without community support.

Michael Hayward, The App Development Process with Schlow Library-Many people think that a library app would just be the OPAC, but Schlow and it’s IT department thought about how people use apps, the library, and what they need most. They developed an app that stores library card information and works along with the library homepage instead of trying replace the library homepage. This program was interactive and taught me so much about a process I was unfamiliar with.

My takeaways

Technology, innovation, and design thinking are tools in our wheelhouse as librarians. They are not something that we have to do individually. They are supposed to be embedded in our lessons, our programming, and our library programs.

In addition to the workshops provided, I was grateful for the opportunity to work with librarians from other walks of life. We may have similar problems, but we all have different approaches, and it’s great to have a forum to start conversations about those issues.

We’ll see what the next few months hold, but I’m excited for what’s ahead!


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