Gail Sheldon
Alabama Public Library Service
Children's & Youth Services Library Consultant

Tell us about your experience leading a change in your library and/or in your community.
So many times we struggle with employees or others that resist change in any form.It can be a struggle. There are a lot of ways to handle a situation. Sometimes you have to rip off the band-aid, for instance with a major weeding project that is far overdue. You just do it and get it over with. One of my favorite expressions is “Get on the bus, get off the bus, or get run over by the bus.” Change will happen, regardless, especially in the library profession. Sometimes you have to gentle things along. Giving a person resistant to change the responsibility for something. I had an employee that did not like weeding and was very protective of a packed out Large Print collection. I gave her a monthly budget to purchase LP books at her discretion, but she had to weed at least that number of books and ones that did not circulate to make room. That worked fine. There are plenty more, but that came to mind first.

What is your mentoring philosophy & style?
I like to try to open up people to their own thoughts by asking leading, open-ended questions. Many people tend to know what they need, but don't necessarily know how to pull it our of themselves. When that doesn't work, I answer from my own experience.

What else would you like a leadership mentee to know about you?
I love working with other people in the library community. Developing and sharing ideas and solutions together is the best. I am grateful for all the help I have been given over the years and want to give that back to the profession. Networking and mentoring are really where it is at in terms of learning and growing in the profession.

Areas of expertise
, , Leading change in the library or the community, Equity initiative in the library, community, and/or profession, Professional values in the library or community, Managing staff for growth and/or inclusion, , , Evaluation of library projects or services, Building library culture, , ,