Statement of Benefit Elaine Sullo

2023 ALA LibLearnX

Name of Recipient: Elaine Sullo
Institution: Lee Health
Date(s) of Event / Conference / Session: January 2023

The American Library Association’s LibLearnX conference debuted in 2022 in virtual format, due to the pandemic, so this year’s event was the first in-person gathering for the conference. This conference offered many options for attendees, including sessions related to advocacy; library programs and services; leadership; career development; technology innovations; equity, diversity, and inclusion; and more – truly a wide variety geared toward librarians from all types of libraries.

The conference was designed so that attendees could engage with presenters and each other, in an active, hands-on manner. There were about 2600 registrants, so sessions were small enough so that attendees could interact and hold meaningful conversations.

The session that I found to be the most valuable was titled “Introverted Leadership: Building on Your Quiet, Impactful Strengths”; this three-hour workshop was taught by Elaina Norlin, who is the Professional Development/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. In my opinion, this session is relevant to librarians (leaders and non-leaders alike) at all types of libraries (academic, public, school, and special). Ms. Norlin presented the content via a variety of formats, including “lecture”, videos, and the sharing of stories/experiences by the presenter as well as by participants.

Introverts would find the first part of the session quite interesting, as there was a discussion about the four types of introverts (who knew that there were four types?): social introverts, thinking introverts, anxious introverts, and restrained/inhibited introverts. Additionally, we learned that introversion and extroversion are merely personality types and preferences for the way that we are energized and recharge ourselves.

The session used the information that we currently think of when we talk about introverts/extroverts and applied it to library work, specifically the importance of being aware of staff members’ personalities and strengths (for example, is the work that is assigned a good fit?). The importance of meeting people where they’re at was also discussed.

Furthermore, there was a discussion of:

  • How/why society values extroverts more than introverts
  • Qualities of the best/worst boss you ever had
  • Why do “bad” bosses keep moving up the organizational ladder?

Overall, this session was excellent and applicable to all types of libraries/librarians. Not only did this session prompt us to do a bit of introspection, but also encouraged us to think about our staff, coworkers, supervisors, and organization overall. We need to consider how a person’s personality type affects their work and interactions with others, and how important it is to recognize and value individual strengths.