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How Does the Library Profession Grow Managers? It Doesn't–They Grow Themselves

Advances in Librarianship

ISBN: 978-0-85724-755-1, eISBN: 978-0-85724-756-8

ISSN: 0065-2830

Publication date: 25 February 2011


This chapter explores the question of where and how leaders in the library field gain the knowledge, skills, and ability to lead and manage people. The authors report empirical evidence to answer this question based on the results of the third stage of an ongoing study—a study which examines the academic preparation of professional librarians who have become directors of libraries. The results of a survey inquiring into the formal training received by practicing library directors are detailed. Among other findings, 55.1% of the library directors surveyed and observed that graduate library school did not prepare them to become library directors. There is some evidence that a shift of perception regarding the need for traditional management training has begun to occur in library schools. The authors contend that this trend needs to accelerate if the information profession intends to prepare library directors to assume leadership roles in the future. This chapter briefly reviews the research findings from stage one and two research, which provided the foundation for the current study. As a result of this research a fourth stage of research is planned which will use in person in-depth interviews of library directors. The influence of leadership on organizational results has been explored within the broader management literature. There is clearly a relationship between leadership and results. What is unclear is how and where these leaders gain the knowledge, skills, and ability to lead and manage.


Mackenzie, M.L. and Smith, J.P. (2011), "How Does the Library Profession Grow Managers? It Doesn't–They Grow Themselves", Woodsworth, A. (Ed.) Advances in Librarianship (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 33), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 51-71.



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