Meet Bryce Kozla, one of our Preconference Speakers!

Bryce Kozla will be presenting a half-day preconference on It's Always Been Done That Way: The Conundrum of Us Versus Them (and What We Can Do About It, Maybe) on Monday, May 16.

Bryce is a Youth Services Librarian at the Washington County Cooperative Library System in Oregon. Before becoming a librarian, she was a reading specialist.  

Since change management is an issue that library staff at all levels address regularly, this workshop is co-sponsored by a wide variety of NJLA units, including Children’s Services Section, YA Services Section, Management & Administration Section, Reference Section, and College & University Section.

Sophie Brookover sat down for a conversation with Bryce to discuss what participants can look forward to.

Sophie: Hi, Bryce! How’s it going? I’m so excited about your upcoming preconference presentation for NJLA next month, and was hoping we could talk a little bit about it so everyone in NJ libraryland knows how great it will be.

Your workshop is called It's Always Been Done That Way: The Conundrum of Us Versus Them (and What We Can Do About It, Maybe) - first of all, as a lifelong deployer of parenthetical asides, I love this title. Secondly, I’m curious about who you envision the workshop being for. Will front-line staff benefit as well as managers & directors?

Bryce: Hi, Sophie! Thank you! I’m pretty excited, myself! This topic came from my own experience and a lot of self-reflection. Throughout the beginning of my career, I was definitely a go-getter. I climbed through my post-undergraduate “ten-year-plan” in fewer than five! Soon after becoming a librarian, I was an ALA Emerging Leader and received an award as a “Rising Star” in my state.

Sophie: Amazing! I’m kvelling.

Bryce: Thank you! But THEN, a few years ago, I found myself questioning a change in the library world. I even used the phrase “It’s Always Been Done that Way!” -- Oh no! Was I one of “those people” now?! Being “the kind of person” who used this phrase, I started feeling isolated and disengaged.

I started thinking about perceptions of approaches to change in the context of the library as a workplace, and began to see change from both sides of the issue. I really think that if we understand where one another are coming from, and inspire psychological safety in the workplace, we can make innovative changes in a way that no one feels left behind.

This is no way to live, right? We can do better!

Sophie: Disconnection and disinvestment are huge morale and service issues. It’s so much easier to embrace changes if we feel like we’re a valued part of the conversation, even if the changes themselves aren’t ones we particularly love. You addressed this so beautifully in a recent blog post and I look forward to learning some new ways to put this empathetic approach into practice.

Bryce: Having been a front-line staff member for a majority of my time in libraries, this workshop will definitely be from that point of view. I hope managers, directors, and front-line staff alike will come away from our discussions with ideas on how they can foster a workplace environment where everyone feels their voices are heard.


Sophie: Well, this sounds excellent! I think my favorite aspect of what you’re working on is that you’re making explicit all the connections between aspects of library services we might be inclined to see as independent of each other: what happens in Youth Services has an impact on Reference and Circulation. What front-line staff experience affects their managers and vice-versa.


Friends & colleagues, now is the time to register for this amazing preconference. Early Bird registration closes on April 15!

We can’t guarantee that participating in this workshop will make you feel this good, but you’ll be in Atlantic City, learning & bonding with treasured colleagues, so...maybe?

Sophie Brookover and the 2016 NJLA Conference Committee