Recent Projects

Leadership and Staff Development - County of Los Angeles Public Library (3 cohorts) and Pima County Public Library (2 cohorts)

With a desire to fill the leadership gap, the County of Los Angeles Public Library invested in the creation of a leadership and staff development program designed specifically for their needs.  The project involved engaging management teams and cross-functional staff groups to determine the competencies needed in both managers and staff at all levels.  My colleague, Sam McBane Mulford, and I designed and delivered a program over five months to allow for knowledge and practice in the desired competencies. Some of the topics covered include:
  • Foundational Communication Skills (Being Present, Listening, Supporting, Everything's An Offer, and "Yes, And")
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Constructive ConflictFirst Cola Cohort
  •  Change Resilience
  • Facilitation and Meeting Skills
  • New Leadership Styles
  • Working From Strengths and Engaging Employees
  • Decision Making and Problem Solving
  • Fostering Creativity
  • Organizational Awareness and Strategic Perspective
The cohorts have been extremely successful resulting in the immediate promotion of more than a quarter of the cohort.  We customize the program delivery and topics for each library.

Strategic Plan and Facilitation Training - King County Library System (WA)

With a need to create a new strategic focus, Fully Engaged Libraries and Ideation Collaborative designed and delivered a year long process for KCLS.  The process included hundreds of interviews with community stakeholders, staff and library users, surveys, and staff involvement in every step of the process to create ownership of the final product.  The focus of the surveys and interviews was on what the community needs to thrive, not what the library should do.  A cohort of facilitators was trained to allow significant staff and community engagement to ensure input from a broad spectrum.  As in other projects, staff development to do the future work of libraries was integrated throughout the process in meetings, modeling of new skills and behaviors, the questions asked and the deep listening used to create the strategic focus.

Leadership Team Building (Stockton San-Joaquin Library System (CA) and Charleston County Public Library (SC)

Many libraries are finding themselves with retirements at the leadership level creating opportunities for new talent to promote into leadership positions.  This situation often results in new ideas coupled with  tremendous energy for making changes and a lack of experience at a leadership level.  Gaining a new leadership or management team is the perfect time for team building and for creating agreements around communication, decision making and the necessity of constructive conflict to create the best outcomes. With a desire to create a more productive and cohesive leadership and management team, I've worked with several organizations to combine team building with leadership development.  These programs are customized to the needs of the organization. Results are visible after the first multi-day session and continue to grow throughout the process.

Expect More Speaker Series

I am part of a panel of "Industry Experts" along with keynote David Lankes, the author of Expect More, traveling to different parts of the country to facilitate conversations with library leaders to talk about what Expect More means to libraries and their communities.  The series is sponsored by Tech Logic with it's motto of "People First."

Facilitation Skills 

Facilitation skills are becoming some of the most sought after skills in libraries.  They have the benefit of allowing more productive community engagement as well as improving any internal meeting whether a person is running the meeting or simply attending.  I do a variety of lengths of facilitation training.  Most recently, I've been doing 3 day trainings.  The format is 2 days of training followed by a facilitation assignment.  Each attendee gets individual feedback and support from me and reports back following their facilitation.  There is a follow up day of training to address more complex facilitation skills and the challenges people experienced in their work. 

Cheryl teachingArizona Library Leaders Summit
Worked with state library staff  and an Applied Improvisation colleague to create and deliver a 3 day event for Arizona Library Leaders from all library types.  The goals of the event were to encourage networking throughout the state and across library types, to offer a professional development oppor
tunity, to support each attendee with a current change in their library using the Heath Brothers "Switch" model, provide some change resilience training and to engage in a group process to brainstorm ideas in the state library's four goal areas.  The ultimate goal was to end up with three ideas that the group can collaborate on over the coming year.  All three days were active and engaging with plenty of
laughter, and included keynotes from Dan Heath (one of the authors of Switch) and Susan Hildreth.

Creating a Collaborative Culture Through Community Engagement - Omaha Public Library

Working with my colleague, Sam McBane Mulford, and the Omaha Public Library, we worked to clearly define and implement a form of community engagement that uses the natural asset of the library as a neutral, trusted institution to engage the community in solving problems.  We supported a group of 17 library staff to become facilitators by training them to design, develop, deliver and evaluate progressively more complex projects over two years including:

  • Prisoner Re-Entry
  • Barriers to Online Access
  • Connecting Senior Services Providers
  • Transportation Issues of the Immigrant Population
  •  Inequality in Unemployment Throughout the City
  • Voter Education

In each case the facilitators researched the issues, invited a diverse stakeholder group, and facilitated community conversations.  The training of the new library facilitators included improvisational communication, facilitation, problem solving, creative solution finding, project management, and outcomes evaluation training.  The facilitators gained crucial work skills resulting in promotions for many of them.  The Omaha Public Library now has an office at the new Community Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is developing facilitation as a service to fill its requests to provide facilitators to the community.


North Carolina Leadership Institute
Helped design and deliver a 4 day immersive North Carolina leadership institute with the North Carolina Library Association involving different library types.  The focus was on
developing leadership behaviors including listening, self awareness, emotional intelligence, flexibility, chan
ge resilience, change management as well as confidence and risk taking. The design of the retreat quickly built strong networks for future leaders to count on.

New Staffing and Service Models and Becoming a Learning Organization - Santa Cruz Public Library
Worked with library administration and staff to define skills and behaviors needed to get through multiple transitions simultaneously including: service model, staffing model, budget reductions, change in hours, new ILS, multiple retirements once skills were identified, learning opportunities were created and delivered to all levels of managers to create a learning organization.

Management Team Development - Palos Verdes Public Library
Worked with managers at all levels to build a team and create openness, trust and increase engagement throughout the organization.

Management Team Development as Part of a Technology Change Process - Salt Lake City Public Library
Worked with library administration and all levels of management to work on teamwork, new styles of management and trust building during difficult transition to new library director.

New Service Models and Mental Model Busting - Marin County Free Public Library and King County Public Library
Worked with library administration and training managers to develop customer service training programs to implement new service models throughout system.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your needs: 707.776.4626
cheryl@fullyengagedlibraries.com