TIE Podcast Fall Semester Video Preview: Adriene Lim on Academic Library Leadership and the Bamboo Ceiling

Asian American library leader in front of a library shelf under a banner that reads library leadership and the bamboo ceiling

This video preview of TIE‘s third fall semester podcast features an enlightening and uplifting discussion with Dr. Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries and Professor of the Practice in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the full podcast episode, which will be released later this month, Dr. Lim addresses how to succeed in library leadership and strategies for confidence building and carving out time for professional development. She also digs into the phenomenon known as the “bamboo ceiling,” cultural, individual, and organizational factors that bar professional success for those of Asian descent, and offers strategies she’s employed to circumvent these barriers.

Watch the video preview below:

An award-winning and widely published library leader and scholar, Dr. Lim earned her PhD in library and information science (LIS), specializing in managerial leadership, at Simmons University. A first-generation college student and native of Detroit, she holds a master’s degree in LIS and a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, both summa cum laude, from Wayne State University. She is ideally poised to direct this discussion on library leadership and the bamboo ceiling.

We hope you enjoy this fruitful discussion.

Here are some snippets from the video:

On Dr. Lim’s path to leadership:

“There was a time when every single person in administration … happened to be white. And I was trying to work with the few unicorns of us who were BIPOC librarians, I was trying to tell people, to work with them, to mentor, to say, ‘You really should be in leadership.’ And then one time someone looked at me and said, ‘Well what about you?’ And I said, ‘No, no, no, I like being middle management.’ But the words struck me and I thought, you know, I think I do have to step up to the plate. So it was more about [how] we needed to be at the table and there were only so few of us around.”

On skills for success as a library dean:

“Every context can be so different, and in libraries especially some of the contexts are not very visible, they’re hidden. For example, one place I went in [had] five years three presidents, four provosts, budget cuts, another place [had] no endowment, yet [at] another place the library had $5 million in spending endowments every year … So [as for] the skills one needs, well of course caring about people and actually being able to work well interpersonally is so important … Being strategic, yet then being able to gain the respect of your team by at least knowing the domain enough that you can help to, if they need it, help to guide, help to shape the program or whatever you’re working on, I think that is important [too].”

Read the corresponding Resources for Shattering the Bamboo Ceiling: Fall 2022 Edition


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Header image is a detail of This is Harlem by Jacob Lawrence. Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. © 2021 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. For more information, click here.