The Bremer Library and Literacy Leadership Institute (and me)


Last week I was thrilled to be a part of the initiative for this new program to build the strength and integrity of libraries and literacy programs throughout the state of Minnesota.  6 libraries and 6 Literacy partnership  agencies were chosen to partake in this institute.  3 people were sent from each area, I represented the Brainerd Library along with the Librarian and another Library employee.

The institute was this past Thursday and Friday.  It involves another weekend in November, an assessment in January, and a wrap up in May of 2013.  To be a part of the Institute you have to be available each step of the way. 


Our common goal? 

“The foundation funding of $388,540 will support an initiative to strengthen the leadership of rural libraries and literacy organizations in order to enhance the service these organizations provide to their communities. The initiative will offer training sessions to small cohorts of library and literacy leaders on critical aspects of running a rural library or literacy organization, from budgeting and board development to strategic planning and cultural competency.”

as seen on the Otto Bremer Foundation site

Our first day we spent going over our strengths as individuals.  We all had taken the Strength Finders test as past of this group (I reviewed this book a while back and if you have never took the test I highly recommend it – it is enlightening – the code to take the test is sealed in the back on of the book).  They then explained the strengths and how they work together with those in our own groups, as well as with other in the Institute.  I had taken this test over a year ago for work and it was fun to do it again and see how my strengths lined up this second time:

My current top 5 are:


Strategic:  (Talent driven, these people are innovative, inventive, original, and resourceful. 


Arranger:  (someone who can take the role of team leader or team player as needed, arranging ideas in a creative way people with these strengths tend to come up with more ideas for brainstorming)


Maximizer:  (someone who sees something good, and has the skills and ambition to make it even better.  By nature these people enjoy taking full advantage of their talents, enjoy playing games for fun.)


Adaptability:  (A free spirit who is seldom thrown off task by unexpected events and comments.  Instead you react to things as they occur.  You are quite comfortable at letting the future unfold at its own pace.  You do better if you are free to respond to demands as they arise.  Understandably you dislike being forced to follow someone else’s plan of action. 


Empathy:  (You are aware of the fluctuating moods of individuals.  You can adjust your responses by how the persons mood is set.  You may be known as a giver, not a taker.  You sense when someone could use assistance. 


It really is quite fun!

That evening we had a dinner where they sat us together by our top strengths.  I was with a table of Strategic people and we had questions we would answer as table discussion.  It was interesting to get to know the other participants. 

On Friday we switched gears and had discussion on raising money which normally is not something I enjoy but a particular discussion had me taking notes like crazy, talking to people afterwards for more information, lining up a phone meeting and well… I dont want to say too much right now but I hopeful that I am on to something that could be rather exciting and raise funds next year for our Library and Literacy programs locally. 




As Friday went on we had the lunch speaker, author Kao Kaila Yang who I wrote about on Saturday.  Later in the day we spent time discussing goals with our assigned mentors who will be guiding up through this seven month process. 

I really enjoyed my time working with this institute and learning more about our local Library and how it functions as well as the literacy obstacles we need to overcome as a state (funding cuts in schools, etc…)  It really is an honor to be a part of this and I will keep you informed each step of the way. 

Here is some more information on what we are doing.