Mapping Development Experiences of Librarians

Although there are leadership courses and programs, working librarians develop our skills through daily encounters in workplaces. How do you know if your daily work-life is  developmental? Here is a checklist that helps you map the development opportunities you have. It draws your attention to the various types of developmental experiences; so that you would make best use of those that you have, and be aware of what developmental opportunities you need to look for.

What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development can have different meanings in different contexts. Here, it is the development of your capacity to be an effective leader. It is your growth in knowledge, skills, personal qualities that bring positive changes in your behaviours and actions. This post tells you a bit more about leadership development. In short, leadership development is

  • important for librarians’ professional and personal growth
  • about time (development is a life-long process), opportunities (you learn through many major and minor incidents in your daily work-life), and diversity of development experiences you encounter types

How to use the tool

The design of the checklist is based on my EdD research. It guides you to take stock of development opportunities you have. You may need 15 to 30 minutes to do this exercise, depending on how careful you think through the items:

  1. Read the checklist carefully, make sure you understand the terms, and mark the appropriate boxes;
  2. Note how many boxes you mark. In general, many checked boxes indicates you have rich learning experiences:
    • the big boxes represent the types; if you can check all of them, that is a good sign!
    • the big blue boxes are important types of developmental experiences; if you have a blue box unchecked, you should put effort to look for them now
    • the small boxes represent the features of the experiences that make them useful for your growth. Therefore, the more the better
  3. Note the distribution of your boxes. Do you have an even spread over different types of experiences? What are missing or scarce? Having a rough map of your current developmental opportunities can help you reflect on what you need next.

Download the checklist here: DOI

Limitations: what this checklist is not

  • This is more about quality than quantity. The number of checked boxes in the form only helps to highlight what are there and what are missing.
  • You take stock of the learning opportunities you have, but it cannot indicate how much you learn from these opportunities. There are many complex factors in what you gain out of various learning and experiences.
  • The exercise is based on your own perception, and is naturally subjective. As an extreme example: perhaps you have many of those experiences but your are not aware of them!

Your feedback and questions

This checklist is meant to be an awareness tool for librarians. If you try this out, please consider sharing your questions or comments to help improve the tool.