Keeping up with the 
Eureka! Leadership Program

It’s a classic double whammy: California’s most seasoned library leaders are starting to head into retirement just as population diversity, Internet ubiquity, and infrastructure inadequacy are creating new challenges – and opportunities! – for public libraries up and down the state. The California State Library, in partnership with Infopeople, is working to head this trend off at the pass with a professional development initiative called the Eureka! Leadership Program: Discover The Leader Within. Eureka!, an ambitious, multi-faceted training program, began in July of 2006 and will culminate in a weeklong intensive institute, currently planned for Spring 2008.

The Eureka! Leadership Program is designed to bring new energy and ideas into leadership circles. It targets library professionals - including librarians and non-MLS library managers – who have three to ten years of professional experience. Top candidates for the program will be individuals who are willing to share their enthusiasm, optimism, and vision for the future of public library services. Participants’ actual leadership experience is less important than their long-term potential.

The first phase of the four-phase Eureka! program was Exploring Library Leadership, a free overview course taught by nationally recognized leadership consultant Maureen Sullivan. Between July and October of 2006, more than 330 people took advantage of the opportunity to participate at any of ten workshop locations throughout California.

Phase Two of the Eureka! program has comprised a series of fee-based skills-building workshops. To date, participants have been able to choose from:

  • Building Leadership Skills: Convincing and Influencing Others, taught by Arch Lustberg
  • Building Leadership Skills: Developing and Leading Projects, taught by Pat Wagner
  • Building Leadership Skills: Leading Change, taught by Maureen Sullivan
  • Building Leadership Skills: Leading Teams, taught by Andrew Sanderbeck
  • Building Leadership Skills: Planning for the Future, taught by Stacey Aldrich (newly appointed CSL Deputy State Librarian)
  • Building Leadership Skills: Problem-Solving and Decision-Making, taught by Joan Frye Williams
  • Building Leadership Skills: Community Engagement, taught by Valerie Gross
  • Building Leadership Skills: Strategic Financial Thinking, taught by Anne Turner

Still to come in Phase Two are:

  • Building Leadership Skills: Stimulating Creativity, taught by Joyce Wycoff

More than 30 intrepid trainees took advantage of special pricing and signed up for the entire workshop series. Over 940 people so far have attended Phase Two workshops.

In response to requests and comments from those who have taken Phase 2 workshops, Infopeople has added a series of wrap-up sessions, facilitated by Infopeople Director Holly Hinman and Training Consultant Cheryl Gould, that will take place in August and September. These sessions will help participants synthesize and share what they learned in Phase Two, begin to plan future leadership development, and give information about “what happens next” in the Eureka! program.

The third phase of the Eureka! program will be a five-day intensive leadership institute, still in the planning stages. Thirty-five potential public library leaders will participate in a focused, transformative experience that will expose them to top thinkers and guide them through a rigorous process of individual and group self-analysis and planning. Applicants for the institute need NOT have participated in Phase One or Phase Two of the program. This institute will take place in Spring 2008, and the competitive application process will begin in early Fall 2007.

The fourth and final phase of the Eureka! program calls for leaders-in-training to put into practice the skills and knowledge they acquired during the first three phases of the program. Phase Four will include one-on-one mentoring and opportunities for participants to continue conversations and professional connections built in previous Eureka! phases.

Infopeople has created a wiki to provide content support for the Eureka! training. This wiki, which includes notes from Exploring Library Leadership, as well as links to all of the skills workshops, past, present, and future, can be found at: http://wiki.infopeople.org/index.php?title=Eureka_Wiki.

Additional information about the Eureka! Leadership Program and ongoing workshops is available on the Infopeople website at http://infopeople.org/.

  

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