Gail Santy
Director
Great Bend Public Library/Central Kansas Library System

Tell us about your experience leading a change in your library and/or in your community.
When I started as director, the Library and the System were insidiously intertwined when both were actually separate organizations with separate funding, governance, and missions. I worked with all staff and both boards to establish a timeline to make each organization function as individual organizations, while avoiding detriment to both. This meant clarifying the relationship and slowly working through a very large task list. I saw library staff grow from complacency to a place where they are very proud of the Library and the work they do. I saw System staff move from a place of resentment to a place of providing support without judgment. This separation took a great deal of patience, finesse, and communication. I am proud that I was able to accomplish this in a few years. It sets both organizations up for a stronger future.

What is your mentoring philosophy & style?
As a mentor I like to work with the whole person. I will want to meet with you via Zoom and get to know you, your aspirations, your presentation plans, your past work experience, and what compels you to excellence in your day-to-day work. I will share with you as well. I will ask a lot of questions to provide us a direction in which we will work together. I want to see your growth and development as this will help keep me enthused about our symbiotic relationship. I am eager to learn from you! I work best in a casual, friendly environment and believe myself to be very approachable. I practice Radical Candor. This means I will work to create a safe place where we can honestly exchange ideas and ways to improve. I am a lifelong student of leadership and personal development. I will be glad to share helpful resources as well as my own experiences and those I have observed. I will make myself available during the formal mentoring period, for your presentation and beyond your time in Leadership Institute.

What else would you like a leadership mentee to know about you?
I am the director of a public library (population just under 15,000) and a regional library system of 17 counties with 54 public libraries. Before becoming a director almost five years ago, I worked as a consultant for 10 years. I've seen and helped others work through a wide variety of library situations or problems. In my current position, I help develop , bylaws, and library programs of service. I work to remediate boards and directors when necessary, bringing them from the brink to solid, safe ground and healthy operations.

Areas of expertise
, , , Leading change in the library or the community, , , Evaluation of library projects or services, Building library culture, , Policy, , ,