Library Leadership Scholarship Winner's Report-Elizabeth Bowman

Elizabeth Bowman, Library Director at Santa Barbara City College attended the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians @ Harvard Graduate School of Education


With generous support of the CCLCCC, I attended a week-long program for academic library leaders offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education: Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians (LIAL).


In its published materials, LIAL shares these goals: “The program details important leadership concepts and applies them to the practical challenges of leading and managing the contemporary academic library. The curriculum addresses three areas — planning, organizational strategy and change, and transformational learning — with an overarching goal of increasing your leadership and management capacity.” There was a significant amount of pre-program work, from reading a textbook, creating a case study from one’s own leadership experience, and reviewing a number of library and non-library leadership case studies for analysis and discussion with Institute members.


Nearly one hundred librarians, from seven countries, participated in the 2016 Institute.

Attendees came from a broad spectrum of academic libraries, but all with the need to explore how to assess their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders and - particularly - to respond to change in their own institution and in the broader world of academic libraries and higher education in general.


Six faculty members and an able staff supported this work.  The topics covered were:

Leadership and Change Session Overview

Reframing Leadership, Diagnosing Organizations: The Four Frames

Leadership, Flexibility, and Change: Reframing Strategies for Action

When to Hold, When to Fold: A SURE Way to Transform Difficult Relationships

Leading and Planning in a Changing Context

Leadership, Vision, and Voice

Leadership and Strategy: Implications for Library Leaders

Opportunities and Challenges for Academic Libraries from Emerging Digital Media

Planning and Strategy Development: Embracing Change and Disruption

New Languages for Transformation: Diagnosing the Immunity to Change

Leading Planning and Strategy Processes in an Era of Disruptive Innovation, Transformation, and Organizational "Pivots"

On Becoming an Agent of Change

Leadership and Strategy: Implications for Library Leaders


The schedule and pace were fairly intense throughout the week, though we were provided tours of the Harvard campus, the Widener Library, and the User Experience Lab -- and a clambake! The week and the topics covered were divided among lecture, discussion, small group, paired, and independent work. The depth and breadth of the experience of the attendees made each of these learning modalities very rich.  Particularly helpful were the cohorts, created on the first day, each with nine attendees grouped to maximize collaboration between different types of institutions represented by the cohort members. This intimate group formed a strong bond and will continue to meet remotely, to discuss leadership issues we are working with on our campuses or within our own personal experiences.  All attendees left with a sense of, and many with a plan for, immediate and long-term professional and personal development.


Attending the LIAL was a career highlight; the coursework was challenging, participation in discussions was invigorating, and the personal discoveries were many - and sometime surprising.  It was also a pleasure to spend time with library colleagues with such great depth of skills, experience, and supportiveness to colleagues.


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly, or view the Institute’s website:


Elizabeth Bowman, Library Director, Santa Barbara City College :


Anthony Costa, Coordinator of Library Services at the Centers at City College of San Francisco attended the 2016 ALA Leading to the Future Leadership Institute


The American Library Association (ALA) held its fourth annual Leading to the Future Leadership Institute August 8-11, 2016 in Itasca, IL.  The Institute is a 4-day immersive leadership development program for current and aspiring library leaders.  Topics covered included leadership, vision and values, trust, communication, influence, community engagement, innovation, strategic planning, and change.  Most sessions were led by past ALA President Maureen Sullivan and leadership consultant Kathryn Deiss.  They shared their own experiences and provided some theoretical grounding for a rich and fruitful discussion among participants.  The participants consisted of more than 40 librarians from across the U.S. and Canada, from a variety of library backgrounds.  Besides myself, there were two other community college librarians, one from Texas and one from New Jersey.  Additional presenters included ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels and Miguel Figueroa from the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries.   More information is available at .


Having just completed a year-long Leading from the Middle Academy, I was not new to leadership training but still looking for more perspectives on the intangibles of leadership.  I found the week-long institute well worthwhile.  As one might imagine, learning from my peers from other states was very informative.  I had little idea what community college libraries are like in other states.  Hearing some of the same issues helped to put our circumstances in a national context which is a rare opportunity.  Of particular value was the chance for us to practice peer coaching with small groups of other attendees.  We were able to coach each other on issues that often transcended geography and type of library such as transgender bathrooms, personnel management, institutional reorganization, cross-training, and managing relationships with community groups.


I would encourage others to consider participation in future institutes.  In my case, it was the CCL's Leadership Scholarship offer that initially got me thinking about attending.  I am grateful for the CCL supported opportunity to continue to develop my self-awareness and capabilities as a library leader.  Hopefully, CCL will continue this program to support other community college colleagues.