LIBER’s ambitious international leadership development programme is designed to shape the next generation of senior leaders in European research libraries.

The programme features a combination of high level workshops, training and individual tutoring. It takes two years to complete and is aimed at people at the second tier, who are willing and capable of becoming library directors in a few years. Participation is open to staff of LIBER-member libraries.

Why this programme?

The LIBER leadership programme is aimed at “emerging leaders”, people who are already in senior management positions, 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.

2017-2018 LIBER Leadership Seminar
2015-2016 LIBER Leadership Seminar

LIBER Leadership Seminar programme


2015 London – strategy discussion

  • Two and a half day seminar just before the London LIBER Conference, hosted by Senate House Library, Imperial College Library, LSE Library and UCL Library Services, London, UK : June 21st to 23rd 2015, with courses;
  • A year for mentorship, including a professional training placement at the mentor’s library (one week);
  • Action Learning during the year between the two courses;
  • Second and last seminar in Helsinki (June 26th to 28th 2016, dates to be confirmed), with courses and shared experience.


First session in London, UCL


2015 London – MBTI discussion



Leadership Seminars : overview & interviews

LIBER’s international Leadership Development Programme is led by the working group Leadership & Workforce Development

The participants and instructors of LIBER's Leadership Seminar at the 2013 Annual Conference.

The participants and instructors of LIBER’s Leadership Seminar at the 2013 Annual Conference.

The Programme, which was launched in 2011, is aimed at 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.

Due to the success of this Programme, the Leadership and Workforce Working Group is proposing the development of a LIBER Leadership Programme for library directors themselves.

This new training course will be open to all LIBER member libraries. It will launch in 2015 and will focus on the role of the library leader in Reshaping The Research Library, one of the strategic goals of LIBER.

Leadership Seminars Feedbacks

Live's 2013-2014 Leadership Seminar Experience mash-up

“The major value is creating a european network” 

Live’s Leadership Seminar 2013-2014 Experience mash-up

Live RASMUSSEN Head of Science Library, University of Oslo Library

Live RASMUSSEN Head of Science Library, University of Oslo

I built myself a european network with the other participants and through the mentorship experience.

Exercices were very concrete.

The Leadership Seminar is a process where you confront to your feelings, have to reveal yourself, trust in each other… it’s a strong feeling. You are spending so many days together !

Being out of your country gets your very alert.

I had my mentorship at the Imperial College of London with Robert HALL, Library Services Dept. The Imperial College Library was a good choice : the University has a comparing size with the University of Oslo, more or less the same culture, but they have a different way of centralizing their services and specializing their staff. In Oslo we have a more general approach.

After my mentorship I made some small but concrete changes in Oslo, for example in the workflow. It was not huge, but efficient.

It’s very intensive : the courses lasts for 4 or 5 days – this is too good to be true, but at the same time it is exhausting…but good !

Collaborative interview : Corinne, Hendrik & Stefan's 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 Experience

Marie Nikichine, France(2014)

“It was different from the usual management trainings (…) the Seminar was very practical, high-quality. It really was another level of expectation”

Corinne, Hendrik & Stefan’s Leadership Seminar 2011-2012 & 2013-2014 Experience collaborative interview

Hendrik DEFOORT (LS 2011-2012) - Corinne DE MUNAIN (LS 2013-2014) - Stefan FARRENKOPF (LS 2013-2014)

Hendrik DEFOORT (LS 2011-2012) – Corinne DE MUNAIN (LS 2013-2014) – Stefan FARRENKOPF (LS 2013-2014)

– Hey, it’s coffee break ! Let’s share our feedback on the Leadership Seminar ! Two 2,5 days working sessions near the Liber Conference, + one week of Internship in a library of your choice in another country to check very practically what is behind leadership.

– The first thing is, how you get into the Programme. For me, it’s because I met one of the organizers a few years ago and he convinced me of the interest of such a Seminar.

– For me, I had the information from a former intern, who followed the previous Seminar.
– Then, from the first course session, we got in contact with people from different european countries, but working in the same context, that is academic libraries. That was cool.
– Yes, we were able to establish relationships that will last, I hope, for the rest of my professional life.
– I have to admit I was surprised by how the Seminar happened to be really useful. It drew a lot of awareness and above all self-awareness.
– Right, it was different from the usual management trainings which are classical, where we are passive, etc : whereas here we participants were really active, the Seminar was very practical, high-quality. It really was another level of expectation.
– For me, maybe the most important thing was to meet with other people. …Even if it took us a lot of effort to put the group together because we were all very different, everyone had his or her place into this ecclectic group. We had opposed characters, different positions, radically opposite visions of the profession and activities…
– Well, that can be very positive. You have to listen to others’ points of view : it makes you discover another side of the problem !
– Yeah, definitely. You REALLY participate.
– Something else was very interesting I think. It is that you come to the Seminar impregnated with your national culture ; and then you have to check your culture and compare it to others.
– You feel free to work with others. This is great.
– And clearly it would’ve been completely different in a national environment.
– Yeah, discussing how you manage a library with fellow countrymen is pointless.
– Totally…
– Now I know what is a “national” way of doing things, which I didn’t notice before because it was so familiar to me I just hadn’t realized it was in fact peculiar to my country.
– A real questioning happens. You take a step back.
– The Seminar is a genuine mix of people. This makes you feel confident, in a natural way.
– Totally…
– And you receive advice that would cost a lot of money if you go through a coach !
– Huh huh…
– I found it very rewarding to be amongst librarians.
– …and during the Seminar, speaking English all the time, we can discuss very personal issues, like staff for example, in a free way.
– Personnaly I enjoyed the “feedforward” process that was used : this method is very efficient. You give and receive to and from everyone and several feedbacks are always more interesting than one only. And it is interesting to give a colleague a feedback.
– Sometimes it was a bit hard to hear some feedbacks, but it was never negative nor agressive.
– Hopefully !
– You feel like you’re in a very equal position.
– … there is both a technical AND human input. Strong emotions are coming out of it, and it happens in a natural way. At one moment, we all felt so nice together, we felt like we were almost creating a european library of our own !
– But at the same time, you discover gaps and oppositions between national cultures and systems : some countries use their budget on complete opposite priorities, like backoffice vs frontoffice.
– Library Ambassadors are not the same in each and every country. It’s ok to see that in some countries it’s the other way around, haha.
– Yes, that’s kind of healthy to discover that.
– … but sometimes it can also make you jealous, that’s part of the game.
– Another nice aspect is the internship/mentorship : you spend a week between the two courses session with a manager in a Library from another country.
– What you are pointing out is very important : it’s fundamental to do your internship in a foreign country. It opens up your perspective, you meet people working on the same things than you but in a different way, in a different context, following different rules and coping with different restrictions. That a healthy challenge to be driven out of our national environment. When comparing to your country, you see better how your national network is built, what your national library provides or not in terms of services, etc.
– In my case, I enjoyed being mentored in a really open-minded service ; I got any kind of information I asked for.
– And you learn how your mentor is leading : you see him or her in situation, leading middle-management meetings…you can study the mentor’s style !
– There is a MAJOR point that provides high-quality value to the Leadership Seminar : it’s the necessary (and huge) investment made by the mentors. The Seminar organizers and mentors have to keep the level of efficiency and success this high!
– At last I’d like to say that I discovered myself as a leader : I always thought of myself as a good listener, but I realized maybe I wasn’t listening that well, and that I had more of a leader potential. So to me, the major Seminar value is that it drives you to self-awareness.
– To me, it gives a will to lead some changes, and to make policy-makers also aware of what is done elsewhere … so your institution can evolve better..
– To sum it up, we can point out that the Seminar offers options, invites to transformation, gives you a hint of what the libraries will look like in the future, and makes you aware of the importance of STRATEGY.
– They’re calling for plenary session, I have to go…
– See you soon !
– Yes, let’s keep in touch.

Marie Nikichine, France(2014)