The Maker/Leader: Leading from the Middle through Innovation

Reference & Instruction Librarian
Whittier College
Young Lee
Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian
University of La Verne, Law Library
Cynthia Mari Orozco
Loyola Marymount University


Start-up culture is changing the way we contextualize the future of libraries. It asks us to reconsider what we traditionally understand to be best practices for organizational structure, innovative work, marketing, and communication. Most importantly, it has redefined the role of the leader who, rather than being the person at the top of the org chart, is the person who leads through what she builds. We call this person "The Maker/Leader." What is a Maker/Leader? How can we lead from all levels within our organization but especially through what we make? These are the essential questions this workshop will seek to answer. Additionally, we will explore ways to inspire innovative thinking among colleagues, how to create spaces and communication channels for innovative work, and how to bring projects to life.


The expected outcomes for the participants of this workshop are: 

(1) Participants will reflect upon the practice of innovative thinking and define for themselves what innovation looks like in academic libraries; and 
(2) Participants will develop a game plan for "leading through innovation" at their respective institutions, creating specific expected outcomes and actionable steps for future work.

The workshop will be divided into four parts: 

(1) Defining the Maker/Leader; 
(2) Fostering Innovative Thinking, Creating Innovative Work; 
(3) Creating Structures for Innovative Work; and 
(4) Bringing Projects to Life. 

In Part 1, we will discuss what it means to lead through innovation from all levels within an organization and additionally highlight examples of Maker/Leaders. In Part 2, we will discuss methods of innovative thinking and ask participants to define for themselves what innovative work in libraries should look like. Part 3 will continue the discussions from Part 2, but examine those discussions from the viewpoint of the organizational whole. Finally, in Part 4 we will help participants to develop a game plan for bringing their projects to life and show how they can leverage the work and networks built around those projects to become leaders within their organizations.

Presentation Materials


Date and time: 
Fri, 04/04/2014 - 1:00pm - 5:00pm


San Martin [LL]