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OLA GOLD 2004: Mentors
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Charles Brooks
McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa

Charles Brooks 2004I believe in what you might call "consensus leadership". A leader needs to foster an environment in which everyone in the group (the DRoC, in OLA's case) feels comfortable with contributing their own ideas as to what needs to be done and in contributing the time and effort to do it. Leadership is not telling others what to do. Leadership is keeping the mission and purpose of the group or organization in the forefront so that the group's efforts remain focused and relevant. The leader keeps the forest and the trees in view at all times while developing a cohesive framework in which the group functions to accomplish its goals.

OLA has been extraordinarily important to me for many years and for many reasons. Within OLA I have found multiple opportunities for growth and development, both professional and personal. OLA provides me with an opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to my chosen profession. It has helped me understand the "big picture" of librarianship and to look beyond my own job and workplace. The chance to interact, network, even develop friendships with others in the profession, to exchange ideas and share problems and frustrations all keep me coming back to OLA.


Wayne Hanway
Southeastern Public Library System

Wayne Hanway 2004About me: I am still inspired by the "Wow!" that I felt when I visited a small branch public library when I was four years old. I practically grew up in libraries, and I decided in high school to become a librarian. After college and Army service in Vietnam and at the Pentagon, I got my MLS from the University of Iowa in 1974. Since then, I have been the director of public libraries in Fort Madison , Iowa (1974-1981); Norfolk , Nebraska (1981-1991); and southeast Oklahoma (1991-now). I am married, with two grown children. Besides reading, my personal interests include classical music and singing in the choir at church.

Leadership philosophy : leadership is stewardship, i.e., a good leader will eventually hand the organization on to someone else in better condition than he or she found it and strongly positioned for the future. To accomplish this, the leader must work with and inspire others to develop a shared vision of the organization and its mission, and must show a visible commitment from day to day to living that vision. It is evident to everyone that the good leader cares deeply about the organization, its mission, its people, and its customers.

The meaning of OLA: the Oklahoma Library Association, to me, is the embodiment of the Oklahoma library community. Like any community, it has a governance structure, it has various neighborhoods (divisions, committees, round tables, and interest groups), and it has its own special character, but above all it is people who are united by what they have in common and who care about what they are doing and about one another. When I came to Oklahoma , I was warmly welcomed by OLA. After getting my feet on the ground and becoming active in OLA, I truly felt at home.


Christina Owen
Anadarko Public Library

Christina Owen 2004Leadership Philosophy:

I believe the most important aspect of leadership is leading by example. I would say my philosophy is one of an inclusive approach. I believe in bringing people together to work toward a common goal by providing a family environment while maintaining a professional standard. Further, building confidence in people and motivating them to reach their potential encourages ownership in your organization and benefits the community as a whole.

What my involvement in OLA has meant to me:

My involvement in OLA has brought me to the place I am today. OLA has provided encouragement, support, and motivation to me in a variety of ways. First, OLA as an organization is a caring and friendly group of individuals. They provide a place of service for everyone regardless of the size of your organization or your location in the state. They have provided professional development but more importantly they have encouraged creativity, expectations of success, and an excitement of serving in the library field. OLA has been one of the most worthwhile organizations I have had the privilege to be associated with.


Barbara Ray
Northeastern State University

Barbara Ray 2004

My Philosophy of Leadership

I believe the role of a leader is to empower the group. The leader assesses the strengths of the members and then enables them to carry out the necessary tasks for the good of the group. I believe in shared decision-making. Brain storming allows for the sharing of ideas and the opportunity to reach a consensus so that all understand the tasks at hand. I believe an effective leader recognizes his or her strengths abilities, knows the members of the group, is able to become a follower if needed, monitors activities and adjusts as need, and listens to the group. The leader is a member of a team. He or she sets goals with the members, knows what the team needs and then uses his or her abilities to reach those goals.

The Importance of the Oklahoma Library Association:

I believe professional organizations are important because they keep their members current with best practice; letting the members stay abreast of new ideas and programs. The Oklahoma Library Association has provided many valuable networking opportunities both personally and professionally. As a school library media specialist I was a member of the Continuing Education committee, hoping to broaden the opportunities for school library media specialists. Serving in various capacities for local arrangement committees helped me put names to faces and get better acquainted with librarians from all types of libraries. I joined the membership committee to try and increase memberships in order to strengthen the organization and the new members who join. Interacting with other librarians at meetings and workshops energizes me. As a library educator my ties in the Oklahoma Library Association enable me to connect my students with the resources they need to support their students and teachers.


Jayme Seat
Norman Public Schools

Jayme Seat 2004I believe we can best lead others by making them feel that their opinions and ideas are valued. When everyone in an organization contributes towards its goals then the goals are more likely to be successful.

An effective leader is one who

  • is open to change
  • can cultivate leadership among others is a good listener is good at delegating tasks has a strong vision for the organization maintains professional standards has high expectations for themselves and others

The Oklahoma Library Association has played an important role in my development as a professional. Through OLA I have been able to meet many librarians from across the state in all types of libraries. It has been fun to learn about the great things going on in other libraries and share ideas. In some states the school librarians are not a part of the state's professional library organization. As a school librarian, I am so proud that OLA is a leader among other states in this and considers us an essential part of their organization.


Connie Van Fleet
School of Library and Information Studies, University of Oklahoma

Connie Van Fleet 2004

Philosophy of leadership:

I'm not convinced that a person can set out to be a leader. It seems to me that leaders are people who have devoted themselves to getting something done rather than focusing on personal leadership status. Having said that, I believe effective leadership is reflected in four integral elements:

  • 1. An energetic commitment to an organization or idea;
  • 2. A shared vision for the future of that organization or idea;
  • 3. A willingness to devote time and accept responsibility for realizing that shared vision; and
  • 4. A recognition of colleagues' abilities and ideas - both actual and potential - in shaping and realizing that vision.

Leadership implies relationships between people and ideas and the most effective leaders develop both.

What OLA means to me:

I came to Oklahoma four years ago to join the SLIS faculty. I knew few people in the state, but it has always been my practice to be involved in professional associations on the national and state levels because these memberships inform my teaching, allow me to have a voice in policy-making and stimulate my thinking. The members of OLA welcomed me with open arms and immediately put me to work. I've been warmed by their congeniality, inspired by their commitment, and awed by their creativity. I don't think it's an accident that I have entered into one of the most productive phases of my career since coming to Oklahoma.  

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