Coming to you again from Paris, where discussions about the role of a library dean/director are continuing.
There is a short reference in the U of S dean’s job profile that stays the following: The Dean functions in a highly demanding environment that requires constant scanning for issues and challenges against multiple priorities and demands on limited resources. The work is of high volume and is complex. Decisions ranging from the mundane to critical are required on a routine basis.
I was reminded of this wonderfully accurate description today as I listened to colleagues from various countries talk about their context, their leadership role, and their many challenges as senior library leaders, both at the library and institutional level. What struck me were the many common themes and shared issues. However, the take away lesson from today is its all about context, especially the value your home institution places on library collections, facilities, services, and expertise. How inclusive is your institution to engaging the library’s input to strategic directions? As a dean/director are you at the “right tables for those strategic discussions”. I listened carefully today to the various dimensions of the conversation and I’m sure I will hear more input tomorrow to reflect upon.
The context of North America is clearly very different from that of Europe. Perhaps the most interesting conversation of the day was with an Australian colleague whose overview of current in-country trends only served to remind me that librarianship is really a global profession, from time-to-time influenced by local context, but that solutions developed in response to such contexts truly do have global implications!
Springtime in Paris really is a wonderful experience!