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History

Library Leadership Institute (LLI) provides an opportunity for librarians and others associated with libraries to learn about leadership potential.

These acquired skills will be used to benefit their library, community and library association involvement. The program was developed because there was a recognized need to cultivate library leaders, which prompted the Wyoming State Library (WSL) to seek funding for the institute.

In early 2001, the State Library received a two-year Carol McMurry Library Endowment grant to create a leadership institute with the goal of developing leaders within the library community.

Through a competitive application process, sixteen individuals were selected for the first institute. Those attendees represented a cross section of employees including paraprofessionals, directors, support staff, library media specialists and special librarians. The speakers at the first institute were Jep Enck, of Enck Resources in Fort Collins, Colo., and John Kanengieter and Missy White from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Lander.

Topics for the institute included a personality inventory, leadership skill building, teambuilding principles, communication skills, leadership and decision-making styles and conflict exploration.

When asked about the experience, Valerie Roady, library media specialist for the Big Horn County School District commented, "There were lots of ideas and ways to 'get us going.

"I am now much more visible and more vocal. I only wish I'd had it years ago."

After the institute, the attendees were sent follow-up evaluations. These provided an opportunity to reflect back on their experiences from the institute.

Cynthia Twing, Johnson County library director, said, "The first Library Leadership Institute was a benchmark for me personally and professionally. The foundation for building my own leadership skills was laid. I will be forever grateful for the encouragement and confidence the institute has inspired."

Because the 2001 speakers were so well received, they were invited back for the 2002 institute. The 2002 institute had 11 attendees.

The focus for the institute was the same, but many of the activities were different. Marci Mock, circulation manager at Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library, commented on the 2002 institute, "It was a great chance to gather with peers and to realize we all share common leadership challenges. It was also nice to have the variety of libraries and levels of leadership represented at the institute."

Dale Collum, Uinta County library director, attended the 2001 institute, and then received the opportunity to become a planner for the 2002 institute. He was able to see the similarities and differences between the two programs and after the 2002 institute said, "I enjoyed LLI again this year. The presenters were good for the second year, and I learned several things this year that were different from last year. Apart from the training, one of the great things is the opportunity to network and get to know people from other libraries. It will help us share ideas."

The initial institute was planned by the Education and Leadership subcommittee of the Resource Sharing Council and the Wyoming State Library. The committee included Chris Van Burgh, Bobbi Thorpe and Jerry Krois of the State Library, Crystal Stratton of the Laramie County Community College Library, and Frances Clymer of the McCracken Research Library. Keith Cottam, former director of the University of Wyoming Libraries was a planner for the 2001 institute, but was replaced in 2002 by Karen Lange. Dale Collum was added to the committee in 2002.

Following the second year's Institute a reunion/refresher/strategic planning session was held in Lander. All LLI graduates were invited to attend. With the assistance of a consultant, and following a unanimous vote to continue the Institute, plans were laid for future Institutes. Three committees were formed: planning, application, and alumni. In 2003 the Carol McMurry Library Endowment awarded funding for another two years of the Institute.

LLI planner, Chris Van Burgh, is very proud of the Library Leadership Institute. She explained, "I think this is a great program, and it needs to be continued. We have brought together this group of interested and dedicated people. As a state we need to utilize their leadership skills, commitment and enthusiasm. It will be wonderful if we can continue the leadership institute, as it will bring more participants together, instruct leadership skills and foster a sense of community and confidence."