I forgot to post on Sunday because I was getting ready for ‘Library Camp’ also known as NELLS 2013!
I mentioned NELLS here before but if you’ve forgotten it’s the New England Library Leadership Symposium put on about every other year by the New England Library Association (NELA). NELA’s website says the purpose of NELLS is to, “foster the mentoring and development of leaders for library associations.” It is a well-respected program in our region and I was so happy to be able to take part.
The symposium brought together librarians from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (Rhode Island didn’t send any librarians this year.) It was a good variety of librarians in public and academic libraries and in various points in their careers. I was happy to see that there were some librarians just a few years out of library school like me as well as those who had been working for longer and had more experience. It was also really interesting to hear the different ways that libraries and library systems work in different states.
I was a little nervous (ok, a lot nervous) about the program at the beginning. I was nervous that I didn’t really deserve to be there and that everyone would know it, that the curriculum would be so unachievable and inapplicable to someone like me who doesn’t have any hierarchical power that it wouldn’t be useful, that I didn’t really have anything to add to the discussion, that I wasn’t really a leader, etc. I was really nervous and apparently, I have some self-confidence issues. But once I got there, I realized that for the most part, all of my fears were unfounded. Everyone was so supportive and while I had a brief moment on Wednesday where I considered calling my therapist to tell her that I didn’t think I should be there, I did well. Maybe I’m not quite the leader I want to be yet, but I feel much more equipped to get there. The program had a great mix of the practical and theoretical and best of all, I feel I have a great network of professionals that I can call on for advice and guidance. That’s probably one of the best things about the program. I just need to work on that confidence.
I’m glad that my director, Krista, had (and presumably has) enough confidence in me that she encouraged me to apply for NELLS. It’s really nice to have a director who I know supports me.
Oh yeah, did I mention Maureen Sullivan, past president of ALA, library celebrity, and all around badass was the facilitator for the week? She was amazing!
I hope to write a bit more about the symposium in the days to come, but need a bit more processing time. Look for more posts about NELLS and hopefully one about when to give up on a book. I’m close to giving up on In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helprin right now and it’s killing me to think about it. But . . . I’m also not reading it and picking up other books in the meantime, so that’s not a great sign. I feel like I’m wasting my time on it, even though I’m halfway through. What a tough decision. I’ll let you know what I do!