Leading from a Distance: Library Leadership During Pandemic is a poster in the 2020 PNLA Virtual Poster Session. We encourage you to engage in discussion by leaving a comment on the page. The author of the poster will respond to comments the week of August 4-7, 2020.

Presenters: Amanda Clark & Sophia Du Val

Track: Academic Library

Abstract: Library leadership and vision-casting is challenging under the best of circumstances. During a pandemic it intensifies those challenges, requiring leaders to make difficult budgetary and employment decisions and then communicate those via zoom and other remote tools.

This poster will outline the skills drawn on to support personnel and programming during a time of unprecedented change. Viewers of the poster will leave with ideas regarding leadership skills they can employ in their own libraries. This poster draws upon both personal experience in library leadership during COVID-19, as well as upon the way libraries within the Pacific Northwest reshaped how they deliver their services to their user communities, even when their doors were closed.

Even while navigating uncharted territory library directors throughout our region drew upon an impressive skillset, which will be outlined and shared with the hopes that best-practices may be shared. The poster will also consider what long-term impacts the pandemic may have on library programming, behaviors, and staffing. Recreating a sense of community was paramount to leaders, not only including the library-user community, but within the library itself, with personnel coming together in new and innovative ways. These and other immediate takeaways will be the center of this poster, which will highlight lessons learned in the academic library context over the past three months.


About the Presenters:
Amanda C. R. Clark (amandaclark@whitworth.edu) is chair elect of the Orbis Cascade Alliance and library director at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

Sophia Du Val (sduval@pratt.edu) recently completely her library degree at Pratt Institute in New York.

Chat with the Presenters:
Amanda & Sophia will be available to chat in real time via comments, Tuesday, August 4, 9:00am-noon; Wednesday, August 5, 2:00-4:00pm; Thursday, August 6, 8:30-10:30am; and Friday, August 7, 9:00-11:00am (all times are Pacific time). Can’t make it during these times? Don’t worry! Leave a comment and they will get back to you.

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3 years ago

This is great, with short-, mid-, and long-term practices and goals. This graphic makes a reat starting point for creating a plan for each item.

Amanda Clark
Reply to  Lorena
3 years ago

Thanks so much Lorena! Such a time of rapid-learning!

3 years ago

Can you talk more about the loosening of how we interpret copyright?

Amanda Clark
Reply to  Ilana
3 years ago

Hi Ilana — Yes, great question. I’m a fan and promoter of copyleft and copyfree (see Gary Hall’s Pirate Philosophy: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/pirate-philosophy); so just to reveal that is the lens that I am looking through. That said, it is a good reminder that only that which a library “owns,” i.e., paper and physical materials, are those that we can freely share.
Anything digital is basically “rented” and under tight permissions controls — I am hopeful that vendors begin to see that libraries are increasingly unwilling to *not share*. See this provocative essay:

3 years ago

Amanda and Sophia — what great insight here. I think your word cloud shows that this remote work is ongoing for the library (weekly) and should be seamless for the patron (continue). To get there requires seeming where we are going but also dealing with all the small victories and fires along the way. Some lessons I draw from your poster — is the need to create as many proactive communication channels for staff/patrons as you can — and also being prepared to hear negative feedback from all sides.

Amanda Clark
Reply to  Rick
3 years ago

Thanks Rick! Yes, victories and fires come one after the other these days! Onward! -Amanda C.