Our staff among few selected to attend annual leadership academy

Customer Service Manager Monica Harris

Our Customer Service Manager Monica Harris was among those selected  to attend the upcoming Public Library Association (PLA) Leadership Academy: Navigating Change • Building Community, March 4-8, 2013, in Chicago. Following review of more than 160 applications, members of the PLA Leadership Development Committee and PLA President Eva Poole chose 24 exceptional PLA Leadership Fellows for this opportunity.

“My selection for the PLA Leadership Academy is an amazing opportunity for Oak Park Public Library and the Oak Park community, as well as for me as a professional,” explains Monica Harris. “The goal is for me to practice building relationships with community partners and help the library serve its community. Part of the process is working on a specific project, mine is digital inclusion, which is something Oak Park Public Library has been working with other Oak Park organizations to achieve. I will be mentored by national leaders and given the best tools to work with various kinds of community groups. I’ll also be exposed to the legislative and budget pieces of operating a public library, which will better prepare me for an administrative position.”

The PLA Leadership Academy focuses on developing the skills needed to work with local government and community partners to enhance the position of the library within the community and improve the effectiveness of library activities and programs. It includes lectures, team activities, and a professional coach program with experienced public library leaders and city managers.

“We are proud and appreciative that Monica’s outstanding work and innovations have been recognized by the Public Library Association,” states Rebecca Teasdale, Interim Executive Director of Oak Park Public Library. “We agree Monica demonstrates awesome vision, dedication, and leadership. Our library and community will benefit from the PLA Leadership Academy leveraging her potential.”

About Monica Harris
Monica Harris currently serves as Customer Service Manager at Oak Park Public Library. Since April 2012, she has led staff responsible for delivering outstanding front-line services, from welcoming new library cardholders and checking out library materials to improving services in the Main Library lobby. Monica also manages the library’s new Idea Box, a transformable space at the Main Library in which to engage the Oak Park community.

Monica was hired as a librarian in Oak Park Public Library’s Adult and Teen Services department in 2007 and in 2009 became Assistant Manager of that department. She has been a key player in numerous innovations at the library including our teen volunteer program, video game collection, genre X, gaming programming, noise zones, and staff rewards and recognition. In 2010, Monica was recognized as a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal.

Previously, Monica held positions as a manager and a librarian in public libraries in Michigan. Monica holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Wayne State University.

About the PLA Leadership Academy
Developed in collaboration with the International City and County Management Association (ICMA), the PLA Leadership Academy: Navigating Change • Building Community will offer a groundbreaking focus on developing the skills needed to work with local government and community partners to enhance the position of the library within the community and improve the effectiveness of library activities and programs. It will include lectures, team activities and a professional coach program with experienced public library leaders and city managers.

The PLA Leadership Academy is a pilot project developed with support from an Institute of Museum and Library Services planning grant with the intent to design a leadership training model that enhances the capacity of libraries to advance community goals and to be active change agents in communities across the United States. The PLA Leadership Academy will be assessed for effectiveness and sustainability. The curriculum is designed by the PLA Leadership Task Force with the assistance of ICMA and Adam Goodman, director of the Center for Leadership, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and builds on PLA’s previous leadership training initiatives.

Questions about the PLA Leadership Academy may be directed to PLA at pla@ala.org or (800) 545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

About the Public Library Association
PLA is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve. Its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or visit PLA’s website at www.pla.org.

About the International City/County Management Association
ICMA is the premier organization of professional local government leaders building sustainable communities to improve lives worldwide. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to nearly 9,000 city, town, and county experts and other individuals and organizations throughout the world.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.