Anthony Costa, Coordinator of Library Services at the Centers at City College of San Francisco attended the 2016 ALA Leading to the Future Leadership Institute
The American Library Association (ALA) held its fourth annual Leading to the Future Leadership Institute August 8-11, 2016 in Itasca, IL. The Institute is a 4-day immersive leadership development program for current and aspiring library leaders. Topics covered included leadership, vision and values, trust, communication, influence, community engagement, innovation, strategic planning, and change. Most sessions were led by past ALA President Maureen Sullivan and leadership consultant Kathryn Deiss. They shared their own experiences and provided some theoretical grounding for a rich and fruitful discussion among participants. The participants consisted of more than 40 librarians from across the U.S. and Canada, from a variety of library backgrounds. Besides myself, there were two other community college librarians, one from Texas and one from New Jersey. Additional presenters included ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels and Miguel Figueroa from the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries. More information is available at http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/ala-leadership-institute .
Having just completed a year-long Leading from the Middle Academy https://rpgroup.org/projects/leading-middle-academy, I was not new to leadership training but still looking for more perspectives on the intangibles of leadership. I found the week-long institute well worthwhile. As one might imagine, learning from my peers from other states was very informative. I had little idea what community college libraries are like in other states. Hearing some of the same issues helped to put our circumstances in a national context which is a rare opportunity. Of particular value was the chance for us to practice peer coaching with small groups of other attendees. We were able to coach each other on issues that often transcended geography and type of library such as transgender bathrooms, personnel management, institutional reorganization, cross-training, and managing relationships with community groups.
I would encourage others to consider participation in future institutes. In my case, it was the CCL's Leadership Scholarship offer that initially got me thinking about attending. I am grateful for the CCL supported opportunity to continue to develop my self-awareness and capabilities as a library leader. Hopefully, CCL will continue this program to support other community college colleagues.