Feb. 8, 2024
Libraries are collaborative organizations that serve the people and community, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is an excellent example. President and director Andrew Medlar examined collaborative workplace environments in libraries in his Feb. 7 talk, “We’re Here to Help Each Other,” continuing the Dean’s Spotlight Series 2024.
Libraries provide people with accessible knowledge, resources, and support. In communities across the country, libraries foster an environment of guidance and assistance. This environment extends not only to the people, but to library workers as well. Medlar emphasized the significance of workplace collaboration among library workers to provide quality service to its patrons.
“I really do believe that library workers are here to help each other. The key to being collaborative within our work is being open to collaboration. Let’s be open to learning from others in the workplace and other members in the community,” said Medlar.
From his early position as a circulation clerk to his current position as president and director of CLP, Medlar’s outlook on workplace culture, teamwork, leadership, and productivity changed considerably.
“When I began, I thought that I needed to know everything. I used to put unrealistic expectations on myself to know everything, as I thought that’s what it meant to be a leader. Throughout my career, I’ve learned that a leader needs four things: purpose, direction, support, and enthusiasm,” shared Medlar. “Leaders don’t have to know everything. No one knows everything. Rather, leaders need to know what their team needs and use their knowledge and skills to provide them with it.”
An imperative part of collaboration is not only helping others with your own expertise, but also acknowledging others with different expertise and learning from them. Medlar stressed that collaboration is about both what you do and what you do not know.
“It’s not about knowing all the answers, but rather having the resources and information to disseminate help to others. Bring your best and authentic self to your work and as you’re doing it, leave your ego at the door. Know what you are good at and what makes you a special and important part of the team, and be humble about it,” said Medlar. “And most importantly, do it for the people. In whatever library or organization you are a part of, that’s what it’s all about.”
This talk was sponsored by the Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship. Watch a recording of the talk here!