Welcome to our first-ever myMETRO Member Spotlight! We're excited to start this series with five questions for Sue Considine, Executive Director of the Fayetteville Free Library and newly inducted member of the Library Journal Movers & Shakers Class of 2013.
Sue Considine is the Executive Director of the Fayetteville Free Library. As an administrator of a busy, progressive public library, Sue has successfully recruited and developed a team of dynamic professionals, support staff and community members who offer cutting edge library services in a state of the art environment to an engaged community.
Sue is a passionate advocate for libraries and librarians and is committed to the development of the next generation of librarian leaders through the identification of and creation of leadership opportunities in the information field for new graduates and emerging library leaders. Sue is a Simmons College GSLIS PhD candidate, 2015. Sue is a proud recipient of the 2012 NYLA Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director award and both the 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and the WCNY Women Who Make America awards. Sue is honored and excited to be one of two speakers at the 2013 Library Journal Lead the Change event in Rochester, NY on March 28.
1. When did you first join myMETRO?
I was invited in 2012 to come to the New York Public Library to be part of METRO’s two-day staff development event. It was a great experience for me. I made a lot of really great connections, and I was appreciative of the welcoming acceptance that I received there. So when I left, I joined.
2. Describe your work experience prior to joining the profession. What has been your most rewarding experience so far?
My undergrad was in English Lit and I was also pursuing my certification to teach special ed. In doing my internship for that teaching certificate, I discovered that probably wasn't going to keep me challenged and moving forward and so I needed to redirect. At the time, my husband was working in Albany for Verizon and so I ended landing there. I got a job in an established law firm and worked as a legislative aid representing two state wide education associations. During that time, I discovered the School of Library Science at the University of Albany.
I pursued my degree in library science in Albany, received my master’s degree there, and continued to work at the law firm. I stayed in that position as a legislative aid for many years after I got my degree. Then we discovered that we were going to have our first child, so we moved back to the Syracuse area, where both my family and my husband's family live.
About six months after I had my first son, the library that I grew up using was looking for a director. I went and I interviewed and I got the job. It was a small suburban library with a very small staff. From my perspective, in order for this library to grow and evolve and become more relevant to the community, we've got to run this like a business. So I worked on policies to expand the vision of the existing organization.
I was there for about a little over a year. A headhunter came and explained to me that on the East side of Syracuse, the Fayetteville Free Library was looking to grow, to move and to evolve. I came here in 2001, and moved the library from a 4,500 square foot facility into this 46,000 square feet and grew the staff from a handful of people to a staff of almost 50 people and a volunteer battalion of over 60 people. I increased the budget from about $300,000 to over $1.6 million in less than ten years.
3. What drew you to this particular line of work?
I love to research, but more importantly, I love to connect people with information that helps them to make their lives better - I was doing just that at the job that I was in at the law firm and it resonated with me that a library is uniquely positioned to help people daily with meeting their goals by connecting them with the information they need to do that.
4. Tell us a little about the projects that capture your interest these days, for you personally, or for your organization.
What makes me feel like I'm having an impact is in the area of staff development, identifying people who are enthusiastic and passionate, brilliant and ready to share this enthusiasm and passion with the larger community. I like to find these people early on in their careers and encourage their participation with the New York Library Association, to help them find pathways to leadership with the American Library Association.
I like to help our next generation of leaders get their foot in the door, be challenged from day one to think differently about libraries, our impact, our roles, our tasks, and put these people in positions where they have the resources, the support and visibility that they need to keep us moving forward.
5. What are you favorite ways to stay on top of industry trends?
Being involved. We have to get out from behind the desk and outside of our doors and actively involved, not only within our library systems and our state associations and our national associations, but with each other, whether it's through social media or through informal and formal networking.
Librarians are an innovative, creative, collaborative bunch of folks, and all of us are doing so many good and interesting and valuable things every single day. That sharing adds to us as individuals, professionally and personally, and also impacts our communities. We have to share, we have to get together and talk about the things we're doing and offer solutions and support. I'm really passionate about that - we really need to be on a team, a global team of librarians.
Are you a myMETRO Member? Would you like to be featured in a myMETRO spotlight? Contact Tom Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.