Event Information

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.

Deadline to apply: February 5th 2017;
Acceptance or rejection of application: February 28th 2017;
LIBER will send an invoice soon afterwards;
Payment to be received by LIBER by May 31st 2017.
Questions: Please contact John Tuck, Chair of LIBER’s Leadership Programmes Working Group.


How to apply?

The candidate must fill in the application form and return it by email in due time (by February 5th 2017). The candidate must send with her/his completed application the following essential documentation:

  • A Curriculum Vitae, not exceeding 2 pages;
  • A covering letter indicating the motivation to take part in the programme, not exceeding 2 pages.
  • All the documents must be in English.


Payment for the first session of the seminar must be received by LIBER by May 31st 2017.
The fee for the Patras session is €700, including a welcome dinner on Sunday 2nd July (compulsory), coffee breaks, lunches, materials and courses.

The candidates will have to meet their own costs for travel and accommodation for the four steps of the seminar.


All successful candidates will be expected to have:

  • At least three years’ experience in a middle management level post in a LIBER member research library;
  • Working knowledge of spoken and written English;
  • Evidence of motivation to move to a senior management post within the next three years;
  • Evidence of strong commitment to professional advancement;
  • Recommendation from Director of employing library;
  • Evidence of willingness and ability to undertake a short placement in a library in another LIBER library in a different country.

It is strongly recommended that the candidates clearly stress these elements in their CV and covering letter. No extra document will be taken into account by the LIBER assessment board.


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.

What happens if I am selected?

LIBER will inform you and your Director that you have been selected. Then, you will receive an invoice. You will receive further information later, by email (practical information, full programme, first contact information, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire, …).


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.

Programme Outline

  • Intro

    If you asked what was leadership all about, and what a leadership programme should include, you could ask 1,000 people and get 1,000 different answers. Here’s what we suggest for the LIBER Emerging Leaders Programme, awaiting you in Patras 2017 and Lille 2018

  • Without self-awareness you're more or less sunk

    Without self-awareness you’re more or less sunk. You can’t change what you’re unaware of. So shine a light on your blind spots. You must find out what they are first. Honest, open and perhaps challenging self-awareness is mission-critical for effective leadership. You probably know what you have to do, but we will ask you to complete several self-assessment and profiling tools before you join the LIBER programme and these will form the focus of much of your early work. Previous delegates have reported finding this an amazingly powerful part of our programme, and one which they often refer back to.

  • Without your own sense of direction, you can't lead

    Without your own sense of direction, you can’t lead. So get a goal, a big goal, set a course, decide on your direction of travel and then you have a fair chance others just might follow. But without anywhere to go, anywhere to take people, you’re not a leader. You know this! People will only follow you around in circles for so long. And if even you don’t know where you’re going, it’s journey over. So an essential part of the LIBER programme looks at strategy, scenario planning, creating purpose and direction, creating the future you want for yourself and your organisation, by presenting and debating frameworks and models for your longer term leadership toward the distant horizon … and beyond!

  • And to lead, you must lead something or someone

    And to lead, you must lead something or someone. Of course it’s possible to be a thought leader but we’re talking about people here. You must get others to follow. It’s not easy. You must pull together a team, and they must be inspired in some way to follow the same direction as you. Perhaps a long way behind you, perhaps just behind you… perhaps even alongside you, but certainly in the same direction towards the same end goal. How to build a team and sustain the motivation of your team; how to achieve performance from colleagues and how to create space for yourself to lead will all be an important part of the LIBER Emerging Leaders Programme

  • What could be the next must-have element for a good leader?

    What could be the next must-have element for a good leader? An ability to develop others must be in the mix. A great leader has a ready willingness to facilitate the development of their team members and the ability to draw and develop the best from people. To achieve this, perhaps a coaching approach to leading might help; maybe also identifying accurately, and with insight, the gaps in others’ capabilities. Maybe even having the self-confidence to recruit and develop people (dare we say it?) to be more capable than you. Coaching and developing your colleagues will be part of our programme and you will have ample opportunity to practice appropriate, inspirational and powerful tools and approaches to enable you to do this effectively and with ease and comfort

    Finally the quest for continuing self-development counts for a lot.

  • Don't expect to go stale and still have people follow you

    Don’t expect to go stale and still have people follow you. The LIBER programme has the opportunity for you to continue with your own self-development as a legacy of the programme once the formal programme concludes. Working with your international colleagues on the programme, who will quickly become professional mentors, confidants and even friends, you will have a programme of learning that extends way beyond the formal days of the programme. This will engage too with your secondment to another library in another country. Your learning will be multi-faceted, practical and sustainable.

  • So there it is: not so simple to achieve but simple ideas

    So there it is: not so simple to achieve but simple ideas. A good leader has self-awareness, a well-defined direction of travel, an ability to inspire and take others along, an ability and predisposition to develop capability in others, and an imperative and an opportunity for continuing their own self-development. These are all the critical areas we will address with you on the LIBER Emerging Leaders programme.

    • Self-awareness; personal authenticity with a strong sense of values and identity
    • Strategy; with a strong sense of purpose and direction
    • Leading others; by inspiring and sustaining a high-performing team
    • Getting the best from others; by developing the individual performance of colleagues
    • Your future; through self-development, professional development and work/life balance.