In the last interview of the first season of The Skill Set Podcast Corinne Hill, Executive Director at The Chattanooga (TN) Public Library explains how moving the community to center of everything helped transform Chattanooga into into one of the best public libraries in the world. Hill talks about the need for bringing on good people—and even the value in seeing great employees move on.
There aren’t too many librarians who get into the business in order to sue the federal government. And to be fair, Jason Broughton, the state librarian of Vermont, didn’t want to join this club. But as the head of the census for the state of Vermont, he wanted to make sure everyone in the state was counted. In this episode, Broughton discusses the importance of engaging all parts of the community, especially those who distrust government.
It’s largely accepted as a truism that libraries connect and work together—interlibrary loan, consortia, union catalogs. However, working together and connecting is not a simple task. Add in different histories, cultures, languages, political systems and you begin to get a sense of what connecting libraries across Europe is like. This is the challenge this week’s guest, Ilona Kisch, has taken on with Public Libraries 2030, a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of libraries to support “a democratic, socially engaged and digitally inclusive” Europe. We caught up with Ilona Kisch, who stressed the importance of building networks of people and ideas over institutions and agencies.
Kelvin Watson became the Broward County, Florida library director on February 26th, 2017 after serving as the chief operating officer and senior vice president for the Queens Public Library in New York city, one of the nations most diverse library systems, serving 2.3 million people. In this episode, he walks us through his journey from infantryman to vendor to librarian, often as the only black man in the room. Speaking with frankness and clarity, Watson shares how his experiences have shaped his commitment to service, including his strong dedication to serving veterans, and the often unsupportive members of a community.
In this episode we talk with Clayton Copeland who is on the faculty of the iSchool at the University of South Carolina, and the director of the Laboratory for Leadership in Equity and Diversity. Copeland is an scholar, an educator and tireless and advocate for inclusion of the differently abled. In the interview she talks about how the very idea of disability is a social construct, pointing out that we don’t see folks wearing glasses as disabled. She also points out that the pandemic has shown in the most authentic way the struggles people with disabilities face every day—no access to restaurants and businesses, struggling with technology interfaces that change or were never intended for the current use, and feeling disconnected from communities. For Copeland, it all starts with empathy.
Sue Kowalski knows a lot about connecting to her students. Years before the pandemic Sue’s library was closed for a building renovation, and her students scattered across her district—so she bought a used RV and drove from school to school keeping the students connected. The pandemic, however, has presented a larger challenge still. In this episode, Sue opens up about not only connecting students, but needing that connection herself.
The Skillset Podcast #4: Academic Libraries in the Wake of Covid-19 with Clemson University’s Christopher Cox
Host David Lankes catches up with Christopher Cox, Dean of Libraries at Clemson University, to talk about the lessons Clemson—and academic libraries more broadly—are learning in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the election days away, this is the perfect time to remember that public libraries exist in a political as well as civic space. In this episode, hosts David Lankes and Nicole Cooke talk to John Chrastka, head of EveryLibrary, the country’s only political action committee for libraries, who points out that for 364 days of the year librarians are the lovely people who help us. But on election day, they are candidates who must stand up for themselves and their communities.
The Skillset Podcast #2: The library as a platform with library Angela Craig, Director of the Charleston County (SC) Public Library
In this episode a conversation with Angela Craig, director of the Charleston County Public Library in South Carolina. We talk about what it’s like to run a library…one week at a time. She shares a lot of fantastic ideas and experiences but take special note of her talking about the library as a platform. She talks about how the physical and digital have to work together. And how the library platform has to connect the very local to the broad community.