2014 Eureka! Leadership Institute Mentor: Derek Wolfgram

Derek WolfgramIn 2001, four years after I got my MLS, I somehow found myself managing five branches of the Denver Public Library, Around the same time, I had the honor of attending the Stanford-California State Library Institute on 21st Century Librarianship (I21L), a transformative weeklong leadership immersion experience for librarians (sound familiar?) Here's what I learned at I21L.

Fast forward: I spent five more years as a manager at Denver Public Library, including leading a redesign of the Central Library service model. In 2006, I moved to California to become director of the Butte County Library. After two and a half challenging and fun-filled years, I moved to the South Bay in 2009 to be Deputy County Librarian for the Santa Clara County Library District.

In my current role, I oversee the staff and operations of seven community libraries and one small branch, as well as the Library's bookmobiles, adult literacy program, and the PlaneTree Health Information Center. I am responsible for integrating the Library's strategic plan into daily operations, and helping everyone to understand the roles they play in the context of the larger organization. I also lead many of the Library's professional development activities.

In 2012-2013, I served as the President of the California Library Association, and was very gratified by the success of the 2013 CLA Conference in Long Beach. Our creative, engaging, interactive approach to the conference activities and sessions, combined with the theme "Let's make some noise!" and the amazing Henry Rollins as keynote speaker, resulted in a 40% attendance increase from the previous two years' conferences. I am also the very proud recipient of CLA's 2009 Outstanding Librarian in Support of Literacy award.

When I'm not at work, I love traveling with my wife Robin (mostly to eat great food in new and different places), my dogs Spike and Aggie, volunteering at Humane Society Silicon Valley, punk rock and jazz music, Chicago Cubs baseball, running, and homebrewing my own beer.

Things that have served me well in my career (and life) include sincerely listening, encouraging others to do what they do well, seeking to find the right balance to integrate traditional services with innovation, and volunteering for things I don't think I can handle.

As a mentor for the 2009 and 2010 Eureka Leadership Institutes, I was blown away by the enthusiasm, compassion, talent, and intelligence of the participants - I think I learned at least as much as they did! I am really looking forward to building relationships with the outstanding library leaders selected to participate in this year's program. We're going to have more fun than you can imagine.