Introducing ILEAD U

ILEAD UOver the next couple months I will proudly be presenting the ILEAD U (hear I lead you) Class of 2010.

ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply, and Discover… not sure what the U stands for) is an ongoing program developed by the super-cool Illinois State Library funded by a grant from the Laura Bush Foundation.  Its main stated goal is “To help library staff develop leadership skills necessary to address local community needs (e.g., job creation, education) through innovative applications of participatory technology tools”  Or “create awesome librarians” (my version).  This took place over 3 3 days sessions in lovely Springfield, IL.

Pretty cool, huh?

The participants formed groups (from at least 3 libraries) and applied.  I won’t speak for the teams as I will be putting up posts by each team in the near future.  Suffice to say that they all blew me away with their creativity, work ethic, and embracing of the new, difficult path that I think libraries need to take in order to create thriving communities.

What was looked for in each team member was:

  • “Each ILEADer must be innovative and interested in learning new technologies. A master’s degree in library science is NOT required, nor is expertise in Web technologies.
  • Each ILEADer must be motivated to connect with their user populations in virtual spaces.”

The teams were assigned a mentor to be an outside perspective and help facilitate the process.  Probably the hardest job of all.

I was part of the instructor corp Our job was to come up with a curriculum designed for the needs of the groups.  I taught Intro to Drupal, Screencasting for Beginners, Online Reputation Management, and Thinking Like a Website Architect.  Other classes were on Social Media, Knowing When to Kill Projects, WordPress, an Intro to LAMP, Plinket, Copyright, and many, many more.  The instructor corp was lead by the amazing David Lankes of Syracuse University.

In addition to the instructor corp were a few keynote speakers.  One was Beck Tench (who I had never met nor even heard of before… but do consider bringing her in for whatever she wants to talk about – if only for cool slides) and the always understated Eli Neiburger waxing poetic on How Libraries are Screwed.  And, of course, Lankes keynoted/brought together everything beautifully at will.

A new and interesting group has been invited to the next cohort.  This group is comprised of employees from other state libraries who are considering bringing it back to their states.   If this sounds interesting perhaps it is time to ask the powers that be if your state library could be involved?

I am proud to have been involved in the first year of ILEAD U and am sad that I will not be able to continue – but do want to highly recommend it to all.  This is something practical and awesome that is being created in Libraryland for and with our communities.  This is the future of librarians.

The first post written by one of the groups will be the Lincoln Lawgs…. in a few days.

TTW Contributor: Mick Jacobsen