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A Library Leader: Positive Motivator and More

Posted on: March 8, 2017 | Category: News

Photo-Felton Thomas Jr.-blog

What are the qualities of a Library leader? According to Felton Thomas, Jr., 2016-2017 Public Library Association President, a leader is: someone who takes charge, a positive motivator, has a plan of action, and gets staff to buy-in to the plan.

Thomas, keynote speaker at the recent statewide Library Institute Day staff workshops, conveyed this message and more to HSPLS employees. “What I had hoped to share with the HSPLS staff is that change is happening in libraries across the country, and we shouldn’t fear it,” said Thomas. “Public libraries must embrace the changing landscape and start to create a new vision for libraries that speaks to the new generation of users.”

Thomas, a UH-Manoa Library and Information Science Program graduate, is the Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library. Under his leadership, the Cleveland Public Library became known as a community deficit fighter and launched initiatives which addressed community needs in technology, education, and economic development.

“The best advice that I can give the HSPLS is to be authentic in the changes you make,” Thomas said. “There is not another library system in the country like the HSPLS and that is a great strength. It serves as a foundation from which innovation can blossom in ways that feel authentic for the patrons of Hawaii.”

Recalling his UH-Manoa days, Thomas said, “My message to my fellow UH-SLIS alums and the current students is to strive every day to make a difference. With this type of dedication will come the recognition for the great librarians that are developed at UH.”