I attended Mountain Plains Library Association's Leadership Institute (May 6-11) at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. I have a Master of Business Administration, so I thought I already had a head start when it came to library leadership. It turned out I had a lot to learn from Maureen Sullivan (facilitator and ALA President), mentors, and attendees. Unlike my masters program, which gave me a solid foundation for business principals, the Leadership Institute gave me not only a solid foundation for library management but also practical advice from mentors and attendees. The Leadership Institute is a unique experience for library leaders to meet other regional leaders and to get insight into issues specific to my library.

The MPLA Leadership Institute continues to be the most useful, energizing, inspirational and practical conference or workshop that I have ever attended (and by now I have attended quite a few of them)! I have seen it literally lead to career changes and personal life changes for the better in others and for myself. I wholeheartedly commend MPLA for creating and providing the Institute, and sincerely thank the vendors, past and present, that have made it possible through their generous financial contributions. I hope and pray that the Institue continues long into the future!

I am a 2012 alum of the Mountain Plains Library Association Leadership Institute. The Institute occurred at a time in my life when I was examining a lot of different areas of my life. From the very first evening, chunks (ok….at times boulders) of information really began to click. The style of teaching brought to the table by Maureen Sullivan really worked. Not only was there talk about things, but we also turned around and put things into action. This was also not an institute where you were a passive participant. It worked right into setting goals and sorting through the information to take back concrete projects to work on back home. If you didn't get something from that alone, it was your own fault.

Another aspect that made our group special was how fast the masks and walls came down. Being a master at these, this was an area that I was working on to change, to be real and authentic. This group had that at the word go. We were there to get the job done. So, not only was it physically exhausting at times, mentally overwhelming, but also emotionally draining. I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

So why the heck would anyone put themselves through this? You not only receive the useful knowledge and the increase in your self –worth, but you also have access to wisdom. This comes from the mentors who sought you out, drew you out, and didn't forget you at the end of the conference but still interact and check up on us. The knowledge and a different set of eyes that came from the colleagues and new friends that I met were invaluable. This is another set of resources to draw on at any time. The type of resources you can't put a price on.

What Other Fellows Have Said...

"The MPLA Leadership Institute turned out to be the single most gratifying and relevant experience of my library career."

"The MPLA Leadership Institute re-energized me professionally and personally, and best of all, it reminded me why I love being a librarian."

"What an extraordinary opportunity for learning, laughing and leadership!"

"The Institute validated my reasons for remaining where I am and offered me the impetus to analyze my present world and see if or how I need to make changes for the better."

"The Institute was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever participated in during my lifetime."

"The most invigorating program I've ever attended"

"I feel very gifted to have had the opportunity to participate in this wonderful Leadership Institute and not only develop my leadership skills, but to form many wonderful, lasting relationships with a group of very committed and passionate librarians."

"I discovered insights about myself that should not only make me a better leader but also a better librarian and a better person."

"I was able to focus on my own leadership strengths and weaknesses, solidify my professional goals, learn strategies for better workplace communication and ways to help myself and my coworkers manage change."

"The Leadership Institute was a welcome opportunity for me to disengage from the day-to-day bustle and think about the big picture with a group of engaged and engaging librarians."

"It was energizing to work with both new professionals and seasoned veterans to consider issues like empowerment, morale and managing conflict."

"I could not have asked for a more empowering experience than this Institute.

It was amazing, inspiring and instructive on many levels, sometimes all at once!"