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LMD Professional Development Series: Freedom at Work: New & Old Concepts on April 23

Join SLA’s Leadership and Management Division for our next Professional Development Webinar: Freedom at Work: New & Old Concepts

Date: April 23, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm EST

To register, go to:

Come and explore with John Lubans a variety of leadership and organizational theories and the concepts of effective followership, self-organization, teamwork, and the democratic workplace and the notion of “leading from the middle”. Drawing on his library work experiences with teams and teamwork, and his research, writing and teaching, John will explain how these concepts inter-relate and how a small but growing number of organizations are enhancing their productivity by applying these new organizational models. Take-aways will include specific strategies for introducing “freedom at work” concepts and practices.

Biographical information:
John Lubans Jr., holds degrees from the University of Michigan (library science) and the University of Houston (public administration).
As a librarian, he’s led public services and technical services teams with measurable successes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Duke University. His book, "Leading from the Middle and Other Contrarian Essays on Library Leadership“ (ABC-Clio), was published in June 2010. Library Journal starred its review and declared the book, “highly recommended.” He blogs weekly at “Leading from the Middle”:

In 2011, John was a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Information and Library Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia in the capital city, Riga. Also, as a Fulbright Scholar, he gave presentations in Klaipeda and Vilnius, Lithuania and in Croatia. He is on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. Currently, he is a Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia and teaches the “Democratic Workplace”, an 8-week class for library practitioners and graduate students. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Posted in Current Events, LeadershipComments Off

Colin Powell’s Rules and Military Libraries

Sometimes small things make big impressions. About three years ago when I started my job at the National Defense University I picked up a bookmark printed with Powell’s Rules, 13 short leadership phrases written by Colin Powell. I taped it above my desk and set about trying to learn my new job.

Powell, a 1976 NDU graduate, is somewhat of a rockstar around here. His papers and artifacts from his career are housed in the library’s special collections and everywhere you go around campus you’re likely to see some reminder of him and his legacy. He developed his rules over the course of his military career but in his 2012 book It worked for me: in life and leadership he explains them in more detail. 

Sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration or I’m wondering how to approach something on my plate, I’ll glance up and review Powell’s Rules. They never get old and the more times I read them the more I see how these rules can apply to day-to-day life in the military library world.

Powell’s Rules:

1.  It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2.  Get mad, then get over it.
3.  Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4.  It can be done!
5.  Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6.  Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7.  You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
8.  Check small things.
9.  Share credit.
10.  Remain calm. Be kind.
11.  Have a vision. Be demanding.
12.  Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13.  Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.(in the military, one always looks for ways to increase or multiply your forces.)

Given the current state of budget cuts, technology hurdles, furloughs, staff shortages and hiring freezes, it certainly can’t hurt to take some of Powell’s Rules to heart and put them into practice whenever possible.

– Mike McNulty is the collection development librarian at the National Defense University Library in Washington, DC.

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