From Research to Practice: Transforming LIS Professionals into Self‐Confident Leaders


Published: February 23, 2015 by Dr. Cheryl Stenstrom

I had the pleasure of attending the recent ALISE conference to participate on a juried panel called “From Research to Practice: Transforming LIS Professionals into Self‐Confident Leaders.” The panel co-presenters were Maria Otero-Boisvert and Mary-Jo Romaniuk, both from the San José Gateway PhD program, with iSchool Professors Emiriti, Ken Haycock, and Bill Fisher providing introductions and moderation.

In addition to sharing the combined findings of our work, it’s worth noting the somewhat unique way in which we’ve approached these topics. Ken introduced the panel by explaining how he had identified his own research areas of interest and invited students to join a collaborative team that would function through the San José Gateway PhD program – a model that might be more familiar to those studying in the sciences. The opportunity to bring in other settings and facets of these topics under a single umbrella are numerous as we, and others concerned with the same topics, move forward with our research.

The panel was an ideal way to share the related research interests that Maria, Mary-Jo and I share as part of this research team. Mary-Jo’s work has focused on the role self-efficacy plays in leadership, specifically within the context of leadership development programs for librarians. Maria and I have been looking at interpersonal influence in the funding process – in the academic library setting in Maria’s case, and I’ve investigated the public library setting. Together we talked about the need for LIS students to understand the importance of self-confidence and interpersonal relationships within their workplaces and in the greater community as key factors of success. In addition, Mary-Jo’s doctoral work has demonstrated the effectiveness of an experiential learning environment on the development of confidence.

During discussion period, it was suggested some of the ideas presented may be best suited to librarians and information professionals who have been on the job long enough to understand the professional leadership expectations regularly placed upon them. However, as Maria noted, learning opportunities that emphasize the role of the information professional within the greater environment in which they work as well as training in social intelligence skills are topics that may be worth considering as additions to library and information schools’ curricula.

Otero-Boisvert, M. Funding the academic library: An ethnography. (Doctoral dissertation). Expected publication date: 2015.

Romaniuk, M.J. (2014). Developing emerging leaders in the library profession: Program content, self-efficacy and leadership. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from National Library of Australia.

Stenstrom, C. (2012). Factors influencing funding decisions by elected politicians at the state/provincial level: A case study of public libraries in Canada. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from National Library of Australia.


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