Support for established leaders

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Leading libraries

Even well-established leaders may come across new challenges and issues with which they haven’t dealt before, for example being given responsibility for new areas of work such as philanthropy or whole new departments such as student services. SCONUL is establishing an Experience Exchange Register where directors can seek advice from other directors in areas with which they have less familiarity. Established directors who are considering promotion within the institution may also benefit from looking at some of the formal training options on offer in the directory of leadership courses and considering some of the advice forthcoming from university leaders in ‘The view from above’ and ‘The view from beyond’.  

Established leaders also have the opportunity to give back by contributing their experience to the Experience Exchange Register or by becoming a mentor themselves.


We suggest established leaders:

find a leadership course SCONUL has produced a directory of leadership courses suitable for those leading libraries or aspiring to do so. This provides a representative sample based on desk research and made from a global long list of several hundred options. The directory is available here. AHUA has a leadership course aimed at current heads of service.
learn from the latest research What strategies can library leaders employ to ‘lead in uncertain times’? Which approaches to leadership are needed in the context of continuous and rapid organisational, legislative, and technological change? To explore these questions read the Leading libraries literature review click here.
understand how others see us What are the views of university senior leaders about academic library leadership and culture? SCONUL commissioned Professor David Baker and Alison Allden OBE to conduct an investigation into this question, and has published the results in ‘The view from above’. Separately, ‘The view from beyond’ looks at international perspectives. The research is available here and here.
evaluate your own service There are a range of 360 degree appraisal tools available that can help SCONUL members ensure their strategic alignment and readiness for change. We recommend members work with their organisational / staff development team to explore the development and introduction of a 360 degree appraisal tool that best meet their needs.
become a mentor SCONUL is seeking mentors for its new mentoring scheme for emerging and newly appointed leaders. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please see our briefing on the scheme or register your interest by emailing
learn from others' experience SCONUL is setting up an Experience Exchange Register so that library leaders can contact others who have experience to share what is particularly useful when encountering new and / or challenging situations. For more information click here or contact either to participate in or use the register.