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The ILEAD Experience

By Lori Y. Lee

ILEAD USA: Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply & Discover the 21st Century Technology and Leadership Skills Institute for the United States is a professional development for all types of librarians.  It is a program that teaches librarians to work with each other, develop their leadership skills and use participatory and emerging technologies to solve a clear problem in their community. ILEAD nurtures the development of a team project over a nine month period.  This year four teams of four to five individuals make up ILEAD Ohio.  Teams must have individuals representing at least two different library types and at least three different libraries.  ILEAD Ohio takes place every two years and began in 2013.  The program is supported in-part by the State Library of Ohio with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services with additional support provided by the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science.

My ILEAD team selected is comprised of Blair Tom, assistant director of Muskingum County Library System, Cory Roush, school-age literacy specialist, Muskingum County Library System, Jennifer Myers, elementary library tech, John McIntire Elementary School and myself, Lori Lee, district librarian, Zanesville City Schools.  Putting together this team was very easy because there are several smaller collaborations already happening between Zanesville City Schools and the Muskingum County Library System.  We didn’t realize how rich our team dynamics already were until we attended our first of three in-person retreats at Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center.

During our three days at Mohican, we were introduced to the other teams from around the state, the State Library facilitators, and our mentors.  The other teams were made up of public librarians and academic librarians that did not already have working relationships.  Many did not even work in the same cities.  We also discovered that Zanesville City Schools is the first public school library participating in ILEAD Ohio.  As school librarians, Jennifer and I contributed a different perspective to many of the conversations over the three days.

The focus of these first three days centers on two areas: developing the team dynamic and filming a promotional project video.  Our first day we went through the True ColorsTM personality training.  The core of the True Colors system identifies intrinsic values, communication styles, listening styles, and more.  This training provided us with an increased understanding of self and each other, thereby increasing trust and reducing conflict in team dynamics. Other sessions covered teamwork tendencies, mindful awareness exercises, the changing conditions of libraries and managing diversity and the future of libraries.  There was also a session on tips for creating great videos.  This also included the directions for making our project video.  The filming and editing of our 3-5 minute video took place during the evening hours.  

The culminating event was the viewing of each team project video and be presented with the grant check of $3000.  Here is our video introducing our collaborative project .

Our team is excited to begin planning and rolling out our project.  We will continue our team planning in June again at Mohican.  So far this has been a very unique professional development experience, because of the focus on collaboration and the longevity of the project.  The ILEAD experience wraps up next October, but I know that our efforts will impact the students, parents, and community of Zanesville for years to come.