MLIS Graduate Portfolio

Justin Barnett

Leadership & Management Issues

Demonstrating leadership and management competency involves identifying weaknesses or problems in a current program, developing a plan for improving them, and then defining active steps towards implementing those plans. In SLIS728 (Public Libraries) we were asked to examine two communities within the same general reason, identify what informational and cultural resources are available to those communities and access barriers that may exist, and then consider ways those barriers could be mitigated or removed.

I have chosen to include this assignment for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that it was a group project—and working within a group is an important part of leadership. More than simply that, however, I believe that we developed and suggested a viable plan that could, in fact, be implemented by the communities discussed.

Reflection and Analysis

I like food. That may not seem a particularly appropriate way to start an academic reflection on a piece of work, but considering our plan ended up involving extending non-literature informational services (cooking recipes and a food bank program), it seems worth noting. What I did not expect, liking food, was to suggest a plan to a library that involved food, but our research for this assignment opened my eyes to a number of other services that libraries and information providers can be involved in. In class, it is often easy to forget that information does not exist simply to be information, but to foster progress, activity, or development, whether on a community or personal scale. (Or, even, to simply entertain.) Looking at ways a library can partner with community organizations to take information on a page and make it relevant and supportive of day-to-day life is not only something that has been a growing consideration amongst librarians for some time, but an excellent way of driving community investment and engagement in the library system.