This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions
by Caitlin Moen, Head Editor, INALJ Louisiana
Leadership and the LLAMA New Professionals Section :
An Interview with Tyler Dzuba
Position: Head, Physics-Optics-Astronomy Library, University of Rochester; Chair, New Professionals Section (NPS), Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA)
Brief Bio: Tyler Dzuba is serving as the inaugural chair of the New Professionals Section of LLAMA. This role arose from his work as an ALA Emerging Leader in 2013. As a new professional himself, Tyler is passionate about enabling early-career leadership and management opportunities.
Twitter Handle: @silent_d
Overview of LLAMA New Professionals Section:
The New Professionals Section of LLAMA, established in November 2013, helps LIS students and new professionals gain the leadership and management skills they need as they lead from where they are and move into influential roles. Further, NPS promotes existing programs in LLAMA and ALA that fall in line with this mission; if it’s already happening, we are happy to connect people with those opportunities. NPS also collaborates with groups across ALA to foster an atmosphere of leadership throughout the Association and our collective circles of influence.
How did this idea for a new section develop?
The new section came about at the culmination of four years of work by LLAMA administration and 14 Emerging Leaders. Janine Golden (LLAMA President 2011-12) and Kerry Ward (LLAMA Executive Director) organized a three-year Emerging Leaders project to improve LLAMA’s outreach and services to LIS students and recent graduates. Based on a survey of LIS management faculty (2011), a survey of students and recent graduates (2012), and a set of interviews with LLAMA and ALA constituents (2013), my EL team in 2013 determined that a new section would be best able to coordinate a large portfolio and to liaise broadly with groups throughout ALA.
By ALA standards, LLAMA established the section blazingly fast: the idea arose in April 2013, we pitched it to the Board of Directors in July, a small team ran a successful petition for establishment in September, and the Board formally approved NPS in November.
Of course, we’ve had a dedicated team working to bring NPS forward: Bonnie Smith, Eugenia Schatoff, Nzinga Holley-Harris, Melissa Cardenas-Dow, and Tinamarie Vella.
Who do you envision being served by this new section?
The one question everyone has is what we mean by “new professional”. Is it someone with fewer than N years of experience? Is there a term limit on membership? What if I’ve been a professional for a while but have only begun taking on leadership roles? What about students?
LLAMA has actively chosen to avoid across-the-board definition. We recognize the diverse paths taken by people in our profession; rather than adopting an exclusionary policy, NPS is excited to work with anyone who wants to develop skills in leadership and management as they embark toward new positions of influence or refine present roles.
With that said: NPS primarily serves new professionals in information and library science who are either already leading and managing, or who want to prepare for future roles in leadership and management.
We’ve also had a great response from seasoned professionals who are excited to invest in the careers of up-and-coming colleagues. NPS needs both new and seasoned professionals to most effectively bolster these skills in new entrants to our field.
How can people who are interested in joining or helping work on the new section get more information?
To become a member, you can register for NPS through the normal ALA registration process: just select LLAMA as one of your divisions, and NPS under that!
Since we’re brand new, the section is still working on establishing a web presence (watch this space!). For now, the best way to get involved or to learn more is to contact me directly either through email (tdzuba [at] gmail) or on Twitter (@silent_d). I’d be thrilled to say hello and introduce you to what NPS can offer.
What would you say has been the best thing you have done to develop your leadership skills?
I tend to learn best by doing, so my M.O. over the last few years has been to take leadership opportunities where I can find them. Sometimes this means I get myself in over my head, but I definitely wouldn’t feel as confident in my leadership skills if I weren’t actively seeking opportunities to stretch and refine them. Also, I make a point of carefully observing effective leaders who I admire in order to find their best traits I can emulate.
What advice do you have for new or existing professionals looking for leadership opportunities?
Show up and say yes.
Leadership positions are usually unpopular in our field. If you put yourself in situations where people are looking for leaders, you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities arise. Especially in an environment like ALA where almost every meeting is open, it says a lot about your enthusiasm to show up in committee meetings and talk with the people who have the power to appoint you to leadership positions.
Also, don’t be afraid to make opportunities. As much as we’d all like everyone to recognize our stunningly obvious (to us) potential, becoming a leader in my experience usually means raising your hand, speaking up for your ideas and vision, and creating opportunities for people to build things with you