From June 12-June 16, I attended the TALL Texans Leadership Development Institute. TALL stands for Texas Accelerated Library Leaders. This was the 13th year for the Institute. The Institute is sponsored by the Texas Library Association (TLA) and is intended to foster and extend the leadership abilities and interpersonal skills of librarians and library lay persons. The individuals selected are mid-career and are chosen for their leadership potential. The Institute is held annually at Canyon Oaks Ranch near Wimberley, Texas. Selection of the participant group--drawn from libraries across the state of Texas including school, public, academic and special libraries--was highly competitive.
The workshop was facilitated by two Library Leadership gurus, Maureen Sullivan and Jack Siggins. They have been facilitating the Institute for twelve of its thirteen years. Maureen is a Library Leadership consultant and Jack is the University Librarian at George Washington University.
In addition to the attendees, several mentors were also on hand. They were leaders in Texas Libraries including library directors and library and information school professors. Both the TLA President, Jana Knezek, and the TLA President-Elect, Steve Brown, attended the institute. It was a terrific opportunity for me to network with leaders in the field and mid-career librarians across the state. It is simply amazing how much we all have in common.
This five-day workshop was highly productive. It was an opportunity for me to grow professionally and think clearly about my professional advancement as well as the development of the UT Austin, Fine Arts Library. After each day of intense learning, we all had an opportunity to hike, swim or just relax on the porch sipping a glass of wine or bottle of beer at the beautiful Canyon Oaks Ranch.
I know that not many ARLIS/Texas-Mexico members are involved in TLA, but this is an excellent opportunity to become involved. Both our organization and TLA contend with similar issues. For example: Texas-Mexico relations. Because of my attendance at the Leadership Institute, I was asked to become involved and serve on a committee. One of the committees that needed an additional member was the TLA Texas-Mexico Relations Committee. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for me to see first hand the type of work TLA is doing with our neighbors across the border so ARLIS/Texas-Mexico could apply similar strategies. I attended my first meeting in early July at the TLA Annual Assembly. At this meeting we discussed services and programming for immigrant populations and exchance programs with Mexican librarians. I will be sure to update the ARLIS/Texas-Mexico membership as I become more involved with this TLA committee.
I would encourage all ARLIS/Texas-Mexico members who are in new leadership roles or who strive to become leaders to apply for next year’s TALL Texans Leadership Institute. For a five day workshop including room and board, it is extremely affordable.
If you have specific questions about the Institute, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to answer questions about this worthwhile experience.Laura Schwartz