Every week until MLA ‘22 in New Orleans, we'll profile the experts leading each of the six Symposium sessions by sharing their answers to questions about themselves and their session. We begin with Katharine Macy, MLIS, MBA, a collection assessment librarian at Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis, and the session trainer for Negotiation Strategies to Empower You in Libraries and Life: A Hands-On Workshop. To learn more about Katharine’s session and the other five Symposium sessions, please visit the Symposium page.
What are you most looking forward to seeing, eating, or experiencing in New Orleans?
Macy: I once worked at Tulane University, so I’m looking forward to returning for a visit. I'm mostly looking forward to the food! Turtle soup, snowballs, shrimp ‘n’ grits, po’boys, beignets! I haven’t decided if I’m going to visit old favorites, like La Petite Grocery or Commander’s Palace, or try someplace new, like Saint John. One thing I know for sure is I will be dropping into Sucre (217 Royal Street) for dessert and sipping a Sazerac at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone.
What’s a fun or surprising fact about negotiation?
Macy: Learning how to negotiate and practicing negotiation has a significant impact on your self-efficacy, which leads you to ask for more, and get more, in your negotiated agreements.
How did you get started in librarianship?
Macy: I was working as a financial analyst when I realized that the favorite part of my job was helping others find and use information to make better decisions. I also realized that I really enjoyed teaching. So, I decided to get my MLIS at the University of Washington, and I have zero regrets.
What’s the most challenging part of negotiating for you personally?
Macy: Honestly, I want to be liked and that can make me want to avoid conflict. I think that is very common in our profession. Learning how to conduct principled negotiations has given me the tools to have fruitful conversations with vendors so that we can find agreement that meets our mutual needs. It has taught me how to communicate effectively and seek our best interests, while also respecting the other party. By focusing on the interests of both sides, and not on whether someone is happy with me, I’m able to get what my library needs and not take the vendor’s reaction personally. It allows me to say no, while maintaining a relationship so we may work together again.
What’s the main thing you hope participants will take away from your session?
Macy: I hope that participants will come away with an understanding of BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement), ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement), and other concepts and how they can help them frame their conversation as they practice negotiation in the session. I want the comfort level of participants to increase when asking for what they need, while uncovering information that can help them use concessions strategically to find agreement.