Tag Archives: planning

Leadership Training Bites: What are your BHAGs?

CMLE is here to help you with all kinds of information and ideas!  This series provides weekly small bits of training on leadership, management, and supervision skills. We have heard from our members that this is an issue they would like to have more training to meet. And I have been a researcher and trainer for many years, focusing on library management, leadership, and administration.

Follow this series using our tag (see end of the article!); and if you want to talk about your own leadership development, or to set up some training in your library, we are here for you!

This week we are looking at BHAGs!

ChupacabrasWhat are your BHAGs? How are your tracking them? Do you have regular BHAG meetings?

If this is not a term you are using regularly – don’t worry! You don’t need to visit a doctor with a BHAG (though, I guess you can? if that’s part of yours??), and it’s much less scary than it sounds. (Few, if any, actual monsters are involved!)

BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

You know when you start making plans for the future, and make those plans that are maybe juuuuusssstttt slightly out of reach? Those are BHAGs! This is dreaming big, having exciting goals for yourself and your library! It’s the big time!

We just had our Fall planning meeting this week here at CMLE HQ, and we are filled with BHAGs!! We love setting scary-level goals, and then trying to hit them. Things do not always work out perfectly, but it’s good to try! We are starting an online training series, a daily book newsletter, and a second, book-themed/Reader’s Advisory podcast. I’m terrified! Will we be able to actually do these things? Will they turn out great (or at least useful/fun)? Will our members like them?? I don’t know! And that is the excitement of BHAGs!

BHAGs let you push beyond the ideas people expect from you. They give you permission to try new things, to go a new way, or to radically ramp up what you are already doing. Failure is an option – but it’s not fatal. BHAGs are, by their nature, tough to achieve. Sometimes it’s the journey, not the destination.

Making the effort to dream big, to do great things – this is what gives you the chance for huge successes!!

It’s okay to play it safe sometimes – but if you want to improve, and to become better than you are today, a BHAG may be just the thing!

Fall, and back-to-school time in general, is a  good time to set some goals for your library.  If you have not yet had a chance to think about your goals – for yourself, for your department, or for your whole organization – now is the time. And if you want to throw in a few audacious goals, CMLE supports you!

Here are a few readings, if you want to explore a little more:

Go dream big this week!

Do you have BHAGs to share? Tell us below!

A Peek into the Future School Library


I love thinking about the future – things will be wonderful there! Full funding for libraries! Programs are always filled! Funders fall over themselves to talk about the great things we provide!

So I was happy to see this article from Hannah Byrd Little, thinking about the future of school libraries. You can read an excerpt below, and click here to read the whole thing.

“During the school year, I focus my time almost completely on curriculum, collaboration with faculty, and working directly with students. But during the summer I turn my focus on the immediate future of my library space and the library collection. I tend to be more of a big-picture person. Many librarians are detail oriented but details are not my strength. So, I have my lists.

 “Summer to-do-list” for the big-picture librarian:

  • Analyzing Use — Walk into the front door of your library and pretend you are a student. Or, walk into the front door of your library and pretend you are a campus visitor.
  • Summertime Weeding  — I use tools like Follett Titlewise, and I also like to invite faculty to participate like they do in Pennsylvania Libraries. There is also the Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding acronym MUSTIE that can help start the process.
  • Editing Furniture — Less is more, streamlining the library shelving can make for an open, inviting space.
  • Updating Technology — Think about low cost or no cost options like improving the self check-out, or adding instructions and helpful signage in the technology-rich areas.
  • Updating the Virtual Library — Work to improve online research guides and the library’s web presence.
  • Create Positive Signage — Change any negative language; for instance instead of “No Food or Drink” try “Food and Drink Free Zone.”
  • Make a Tickler List/File — A monthly list of what celebrations and events happen in the library space and of course, what bills are due each month

My big-picture side automatically thinks about library use and function over the next 10, 20, or even 30 years. I think of the library space as a place of information access and literacy development. A place where students still want to visit and a place where the librarian is still available to guide students in their information quest.”

Library Futures Task Force explores options for future


(From the News Review,  by )

“The Sage Library System could offer Douglas County libraries a catalog system as well as courier service to share 1.7 million books with other Oregon libraries. Sage is a consortium with 77 member libraries in 15 Eastern Oregon counties.

Beth Longwell, systems manager for Sage, told the Douglas County Library Futures Task Force Friday that the cost for all Douglas County branches to join the system would be about $40,000 a year. Sage wouldn’t be involved in staffing or operations of the libraries themselves.

Joining Sage is one of many possibilities the task force is looking into as it ponders possible long-term solutions to restore a countywide library system. The county government, struggling with the loss of federal timber money, has announced it will pull funding for the library system at the end of this fiscal year. Most smaller library branches are already closed, and the Roseburg branch is slated to close at the end of this month.

Continue reading Library Futures Task Force explores options for future

Planning for your successor (Hiring series #4)

Who do we hire next??

Have you ever started a job and had no idea what you were supposed to do? Have you tried to hire someone, and realized you have no good direction on where to start finding a qualified replacement?

Where are the pens kept? How do you file a report? Who does the scheduling? When everything is new and different, even the most basic things are a challenge. And when an employee is trying to get through the basics, s/he is not focusing in on getting to the important parts of the job.

Every job should have some level of succession planning in place. Employees may move, get promoted, or abruptly depart from their jobs for all kinds of reasons, either permanently or temporarily. Having some basic procedures to help the next person will make the transition easier on everyone. For most jobs in the library this can be fairly minimal. It is a good idea to have everyone make some notes about their work and the things they do each day, each week, or annually. (Sometimes this request stirs up fears in employees that they are going to be replaced. Managers: be quick to reassure them this is not the case!)  These will be useful if an employee has to be out of work for a couple of weeks, or if they win the lottery and depart without notice. (Who could blame them??) Continue reading Planning for your successor (Hiring series #4)

Disaster Planning for Libraries

Disasters happen. Great River’s recent fire (St. Cloud) and flood (Belgrade) are scary reminders that all kinds of disasters can happen in libraries, and planning ahead for them can help make them less terrible.

Have you looked at your library’s disaster plan lately? Does your library even have a disaster plan? You can not assume your parent organization (school, college, city, corporation, or whoever) will include you, or that they will understand enough about what you are doing to include meaningful information. When disasters strike your library, you want to be ready with procedures that will quickly help you to cope.

Tsunami sign
This is one disaster we can avoid in Minnesota!

Think realistically about the kinds of disasters that might strike your library. In Minnesota, we do not need to worry about hurricanes; but tornadoes, power outages, and fires are all pretty likely. I have seen library policies dealing with bears in the parking lot and rattlesnakes in the stacks; if these are likely to occur in your library – set up a plan! Are you ready in case your library’s website falls victim to a ransomware demand for Bitcoin? (see Radiolab podcast: Darkrode) It is starting to be an issue for hospitals – libraries could be vulnerable without protection and backup. (Wired: Hospitals as targets).

As with so many things, we can just follow the procedures other libraries have created. If you look at your disaster plan (or the blank space where a plan should be), and see that it could use some updating, you have a few basic options:

  • call other libraries in your area to see what they are doing (we are great resources for each other!),
  • check in with your system to see what suggestions they have (see: this entry!),
  • look online at other libraries and their plans,
  • browse through plans for other types of organizations,
  • talk to your parent organization about their suggestions for updates, and ideas on how you will fit into their plans.

Here are a few resources you might look to as you prepare your own disaster planning:

This is definitely something we can work on together as a system. If you want some organized training, or a writing session where we all work together, or just someone to be a sounding board as you start your disaster plan work – let us know!