A short reflection on being a Carnegie Partner

April 20, 2020

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by Maria Reguera, Carnegie Partner, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure

It seems that it was just yesterday that I met all the Cohort 3 partners for the Carnegie UK Trust’s Library Lab programme for the first time. A trip to Manchester in June 2018 allowed us to put faces to names and shake off the nervousness that invariably comes with these type of situations. I had been selected to become a Carnegie Partner for the 18 month programme. This privilege came with funds to develop and deliver a series of workshops for young people introducing them to robotics skills by using affordable electronics and recycled materials. In a world where emerging technologies are changing the way we live our lives, technical and creative skills are going to be the bread and butter of the younger generations.

This first meeting introduced us to three important aspects of the programme: The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), my mentor Julie Griffiths, Library Strategy and Development Manager at Halton Borough Council and Trustee of Libraries Connected, and the online learning programme.

The results of my MBTI tests is something that I have kept referring to for the duration of the programme and beyond. It gave me an unexpected introspection. As an ENTP (Extrovert, Intuition, Thinking, Perception) type I appreciate my endless curiosity but also now recognise my tendency to not focus and if frustrated to become apprehensive. I also have a better grasp of the people around me and I feel I can work more effectively in partnership due to a new appreciation and understanding of the different personalities around me. I am particularly better at recognising the strengths that I lack in others, and lean on them for those aspects of any collaborative project.

My monthly online meetings with Julie Griffiths, my mentor, were a source of anticipatory joy. Having someone outside my day to day work to bounce back and forth ideas and new concepts gave me an opportunity to think outside the box. There are different approaches to managing libraries and projects, and sometimes these are hard to envisage while we are wrapped up in the ‘familiarity’ of our own work environment.

The online training programme covered the themes of ‘the why’, leadership, power, change and creativity & innovation. It started with a call to be courageous and own your value, something that is surprisingly easier said than done as I am plagued by self-doubt and a predisposition to exaggerate consequences. To illustrate my point, I am now able to put myself forward to give talks about my work and do so without breaking into a sweat, something that was unthinkable before becoming a Carnegie Partner. I have learnt to underpin ‘the why in everything that I do, and most importantly to use it to get people on board, for example when requesting participants to fill in valuable feedback forms. The thread that has run through all the online learning for me and tied them together neatly is the knowledge that I can learn to be and do better, if I am prepared to put in the effort. There are always tips to learn and try out, and the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ has never rung so true as when completing each of the assigned themes.

All in all being a Carnegie Partner has given me the audacity to try and fail, and to learn from it and try again until I succeed, and to encourage others around me to do the same.