Our profession is challenged by a shortage of people who are both willing and have the skills to lead in an environment of increasingly fast-paced change.

Some countries are already addressing this issue by offering programmes of leadership development for existing directors, and potential ‘high-fliers’.

The LIBER Emerging Leaders programme is aimed at the next generation of senior leaders: people who are already in positions of senior management but who wish to do more to enhance their leadership qualities in preparation for the step up to the next big challenge – that of taking responsibility for leading an organisation through changing times.

The timing of this LIBER initiative is particularly fortunate. Libraries are subject to constant change and transformation. We will need to be well-equipped to deal with whatever new challenges are on their way whether digital, financial or societal. Strong and effective leadership will be key to our capacity to meet the demands of tomorrow’s customers, and to becoming partners alongside other leaders within our institutions as plans are made for the future.

The seminar programme has four components:

  • 2-and-a-half-day course in 2017 in Patras, Greece, July 2nd – July 4th
  • A combination of a) action-learning and b) mentoring, from July 2017 to May 2018;
  • 2-and-a-half-day course in 2018 in Lille, June 25th to 27th (dates to be confirmed).

The course will again be led by a well-skilled course Director, Jan Wilkinson, University Librarian and Director of The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, UK, who will act as the ‘glue’ between course content provided by an experienced consultant and coach, and a small number of high-level guest speakers who will share their experiences to illustrate with practical examples of relevance to each part of the course.

The pace of the course will be fairly brisk to enable a coverage of all of the essential material. There will be an emphasis on ‘self’ within the course ; increased self-awareness is a great place to begin our leadership journey. Combined with this will be the entertaining presentation of established facts and theory about leadership, followed up each time with group discussion. In advance of the first course, delegates will be expected to complete a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire, and there will be some required reading. During the course each delegate will complete an i-SWOT as a means to reflect on their personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to the challenges of the opportunities and threats likely to be presented in their current or next role. We will also play the Johari’s window ‘game’ of disclosure and feedback : what can you tell about yourself and what can others tell about yourself? The approach will be sensitive to individual needs and conducted in a non-threatening way. It will be fun rather than uncomfortable!

Following completion of the course, delegates will ‘meet’ the members of their action-learning sets regularly by conference call and will go for one week of professional training between July 2017 and May 2018, which will not be domestic, but definitely abroad. During the whole process, each delegate will also be assigned a mentor from a LIBER member library, providing a high-value and customized experience.


Please contact John Tuck, Chair of the LIBER Leadership and Workforce Working Group with any questions about the 2017 LIBER Leadership Programme.