St. Francis Library
The date: May 14th 2013; the location: Breezy Point Resort; the mission: getting 25 library type professionals together to help them discover their strengths and skills as emerging leaders in the profession. I was excited to take on that mission due in part to a scholarship awarded to me by Metronet.
The Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE) 2013 was made possible by MLA, 2011 MILE attendees and many others including 2 great co-chairs Laura Morlock and Rick Eubanks. The 4 day conference included sessions on strength based leadership, problem solving, strategic planning and goal setting. The last day of the conference was set up for us to meet our mentors. This mentorship component of the institute allows us to be partnered up with a library professional in the field for the next 18 months. My mentor was unable to attend the conference, but we have been in touch and I am looking forward to keeping in contact with her. I think it will be so beneficial to have another person to bounce ideas off and provide support with future situations that might come up.
The next mission for the MILE 2013 group is to take our newfound skills and apply those to positions and areas of interest in MLA, our place of work, or our community. We have also been given the task of organizing and putting on the next institute for the MILE class of 2015.
I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the MILE class of 2013. I know I would have never have met most of these great people if it weren’t for the conference. It is comforting to know I have 24 others that are out there in the library world dealing with the same or perhaps different “high and lows” and that we can be a support group to one another. I am looking forward to many more “Barry” fan club meetings, conversations, and Lift Bridge bon fires.
St. Catherine University (MLIS student)/Dunwoody College
I would say the most important benefit to me that came from MILE was my renewed excitement of why I went into librarianship. What struck me most about this conference was what good people I was in the field with. On a day to day basis, I definitely can get stuck in a groove of going to school and work and not necessarily having a connection as to why I do these things. At the conference, we talked about equal access and the benefits of government funding and jobs. I do greatly believe in what public and school libraries offer to people. But this conference helped me renew my commitment. I was so excited by the end of the conference; I felt I was refueled to finish school and find a school librarian job.
Second to feeling part of a community that I am thrilled to be in, we focused on “Strengths Based Leadership.” Behind this theory, is the idea that we need to find our strengths and capitalize on them as leaders. We need to drop the notion that we have to be everything to everyone as leaders and embrace what we’re good at and learn how to work in teams that counterbalance our strengths and weaknesses. Every attendee took the “Strengths Finder” test. We had speakers talk about the different “Strengths.” I learned more about myself from that. I took away good tools for focusing on my strengths and putting them to work.
Lastly, although I enjoyed all parts of the conference, I walked away with hope. Because I am pairing with a mentor for the next 18 months, I felt like this was just the beginning to a great future, working with great library leaders.
Amy Commers, Youth Services Librarian
South St. Paul Public Library
I was selected to be a part of the 2013 Minnesota Library Association Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE), held May 14-17 at Breezy Point Resort. 25 individuals of all positions, from all types of libraries are selected for this experience, which is held every two years. We were able to complete the Strengths Finder assessment and read the book Strengths Based Leadership. Rather than focusing only on our weaknesses, the Strengths Finder philosophy looks at our strengths, and using those strengths to help us be better leaders. We explored how play and humor influence innovation with Barry Kudrowitz, a professor at the University of MN, and explored how to be engaged and effective at work. Sprinkled throughout the week were panel discussions featuring librarians from all over the state talking about things like being involved in professional organizations and MLA. I would encourage anyone who would like to explore who they are as a leader in the presence of other motivated and enthusiastic librarians to think about applying for MILE in 2015. After the concentrated 4-day experience, participants are paired with a mentor to work with for 18 months to create and achieve goals. Thank you for supporting my participation in this experience!
Rush Creek Elementary (Osseo)
As a recipient of a Metronet Continuing Education Scholarship, I was able to attend the TIES 2012 EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE. The event was filled with fabulous sessions. Two of my favorite sessions were Web 2.0 Staff Development and QR (Quick Response) codes. They will be ideas I can incorporate in my position as a media specialist. The Web 2.0 Staff Development is an idea I can use with my own staff as another way to provide staff development in a unique way. The QR code session gave me ideas of ways to use QR codes in the library. Having students write reviews and then posting the QR codes in the hallway is a great way to promote books. I also found a practical way to share my contact information with parents through a QR code. In addition, Leslie Fisher’s Gadget session was simply fun. She shared technology items a person could hardly imagine were possible. The TIES Conference was an energizing event for professional development.
Park Center Senior H.S.
Dear folks at Metronet,
Thanks so much for funding the opportunity for me to attend the MEMO Fall Conference in St. Cloud, Oct. 11-13, 2012. Over the course of the three day conference, I networked with many media professionals, attended many breakout sessions, introduced and collaborated with national keynote speakers, presented statewide awards, and facilitated the annual MEMO membership meeting. The outcomes from the event are both immediate and long-term as well as local, statewide, and national.
A simple report detailing my attendance and activities over the three days would probably be boring and less informative than the few snapshots that I will provide. Thursday’s pre-conference focused on technology coordinators or administrators, technology integration specialists, and technology support specialists. This is the first time that a MEMO event was not focused on library media specialists as the primary participants. The resulting collaboration and communication across the groups was rare and valuable. The discussions that particularly interested me were focused around flipped learning. I plan to take many of the ideas and contacts from this portion of the conference and apply them to a Flipped Learning one-day conference that MEMO plans to hold in April.
As I drove to the conference site on Friday morning, I wrote a little song about the MEMO mission. I sang it as an introduction to Shannon McClintock Miller, one of the national keynote speakers. I then posted a recording of it that morning on the MEMO ning. Shannon’s keynote address was inspiring, and I have since been in contact with her about starting a “Somewhat Virtual Book Club.” I also have begun to work on branding the school media center where I work by giving it a name that reflects the mission and the environment. “The Hub” is the current high contender.
I also attended a breakout session led by Andi Bodeau about checking Nooks out to students. I have one Nook that I currently check out. Getting a written parent/student agreement form was one of the boons of attending that session. It will allow me to better implement a more large-scale system for checking out Nooks in my high school media center.
At the conference, I encouraged people to contact me if they are interested in getting more involved in the profession. Already this morning, I had a lengthy conversation with Jen Hegna, a Director of Technology and Information Systems, who would like to collaborate to create a repository for teachers, tech integrationists, and media specialists to add apps, how they are being used, and stories and samples of their uses. This would be a shared resource to which all media professionals could add as well as draw from. This is an unfulfilled need that came directly out of my attendance at the conference.
I also attended a session with Gail Lovely, who introduced the group to a number of useful apps for education, including “Chirp,” which sends an audio signature to other devices within audio range that links to a URL or other web resource, much like a unique birdsong sends a specific message to other birds of the same species. The application for classroom use is tremendous, as URLs are difficult to copy and QR codes can be cumbersome and difficult as well.
While there were many connections made between organizations at this event, one such connection was spending some time introducing the president-elect of the Minnesota Library Association to the Presidents-elect of MEMO, that they might work well together in the coming years. Additional collaboration took place with vendors – for example in a conversation with Mackin representative Mesa Heise, I secured her pledge to report on the commercial perspective of the vendor fair to improve the connection and communication between school systems/organizations and commercial enterprises. In the area of literacy, a conversation with author John Coy rewarded me with his interest in visiting my school and potentially starting book clubs with our school’s sports teams.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve in a leadership role to help increase collaboration among media professionals and their organizations.