Last week (July 10-17), I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota attending the
7th Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups.
It was a pleasure to represent Miami in such a diverse and committed group of new professionals with a passion about the future of librarianship and its contribution to higher education at different levels. At the end of the week, many of us agreed that the success of the institute relies on at least three factors: a) the ongoing commitment from the founders of the institute: Linda DeBeau-Melting and Peggy Johnson, Associate University Librarians at the UM; b) the cumulative work from the two facilitators: DeEtta Jones and Kathryn Deiss, both with a great deal of experience in the field of librarianship; and c) the investment for professional development from our host institutions and the support from supervisors and colleagues.
The content was divided into two main categories:
Leadership skills, we started the discussion with our reactions to the pre-institute readings (Book: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and Article: Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker); then, we moved to Communication Styles and Organizational Culture. The core message was to understand/accept that every individual has his/her own way of work -based on strengths, culture, values, title, experience, etc.; however, when a group of people need to work for a common project, then it becomes necessary to not only know those (different) qualities but to utilize them in relevant roles in order to achieve excellence at work. In today’s ever changing environment, there seems to be a greater need to develop a deep understanding of oneself, learn and apply new skills, and decide how one can best enhance an organization’s performance.
Professional skills, for two days we worked on grant writing, the instructor was Lori-Anne Williams, Grant Writer for the UM. Dr. Williams walked us through the general process of Grant Proposals with a special focus on medium-large federal grants. We also spent a morning session on tips for searching grant opportunities through specialized websites such as: Community of Science, Grants.gov, GrantsNet, Foundation Center, etc. One of the trends for successful grant projects seems to be collaboration either at multi-departmental or multi-institutional levels -who knows, maybe someday some of the participants in this institute can work on a joint project.
In conclusion, the institute was an “inspiring” gathering; I enjoyed talking/learning from people who are very committed to the field of librarianship. I plan to utilize this opportunity to continue to improve my leadership and professional skills for the benefit of Miami. It’s my goal to take a more proactive role in the groups I currently belong to -including MUL’s Diversity Cluster, Center of American and World Cultures, Association of Latino/a Faculty and Staff, and the Technical and Digital Services Interest Group of ALAO.
Last but not least, during the institute I also got three very good news:
- Jason Michel and I got an acceptance letter for an article on the migration of two image collections from CONTENTdm into Flickr.
- I have received an invitation to convert my ALA poster session into an article and I do have a deadline in a few weeks.
- I have identified at least 3 co-authors for potential publications in the near future (topics on Open Access and Latin America, Maps/GIS and Digital Collections, Technical Skills for new librarians, Diversity and Workforce, etc.)
…ok, I guess that’s it, now back to my DSpace and Manakin work!