Library leadership

Volume 46 NO. 4 2013

Footsteps leading the way. Photo: Annika HjerpeInsight-based leadership

There are two basic models that apply to the thinking on leadership. One model regards leadership as a subject in its own right and as a separate area of competency. Whoever can manage a bank can also manage other types of organization from a hospital to a library. We may call this the organizational leader model. The other model emphasizes the need to have a professional background in the core business of the organization that one is to lead. The head of a bank should come from and have skills related to the banking profession, and the head of a hospital should come from the health professions. We may call this model the professional leader model.

Catharina Isberg. Photo: annika HjerpeFrom academic to public

The fundamental core value of the citizen’s right to information distinguishes libraries from other types of operations. The democratic spirit is especially prevalent in public libraries but is noted in the personnel manning other types of libraries as well. Library director Catharina Isberg believes in a more generous approach to values sharing between different types of libraries, since they can learn so much from each other.


Photo: License freeChange and leadership

The reform of the Universities Act in Finland has had an immense impact on leadership in libraries. Library directors are required to have a new type of leadership competence, which emphasizes financial management and change management. The focus of the library director’s work is shifting from knowledge-based leadership to professional leadership.

Community center. Photo Nils LundCommunity centres as laboratory for management

Experiments with transforming a number of Danish libraries into acting as community centres show that community centres make special demands on both staff and management, as they are based on user involvement, partnerships and help from volunteers with a large number of activities that are sought after by the users.

Editorial: Citius, altius, library leader

Leadership is needed to enable an organization to get where it wants to go. Although the duties are the same, leadership has, however, changed in libraries in recent years and decades. The library is one of the largest organizations among public institutions, there are numerous staff members to supervise who are more heterogeneous than before and many of whom do more independent work than before.

Reading Moby Dick. Photo Annika HGjerpeViewpoint: Management by reading

There are a vast number of theories on leadership out there: The One Minute Manager, The Effective Executive, and Management by Walking around, to name but a few. But so far we have found nothing on Management by Reading.

Rainbow umbrella. Photo Annika HjerpeLibrary equality: Equality without gender perspective

Almost exactly one year ago, the public library in Hallonbergen near Stockholm became the first library in Sweden to achieve LGBT-certified status. Such a certificate indicates an organization’s efforts in actively creating an open and including atmosphere, welcome to everyone. Much of the criteria focuses on educating staff and developing methods for challenging long-established norms in society.