Launching Your Star Potential: Leadership for Today’s Libraries

an ALCTS Virtual Midwinter Symposium

January 9–13, 2012

Libraries are being reshaped. Traditional services and collections are being re-examined and profoundly re-envisioned. New models of service are being demanded and implemented. As long-time leaders retire, strong leadership skills are needed to manage this massive wave of change. At the same time, library leaders must also deal with significant changes in staffing, rapidly developing technologies, and scores of emerging standards. In addition, they must consider numerous external fiscal and social factors while simultaneously championing their own organizations and the library profession as a whole.

This virtual symposium is comprised of five one-hour sessions. Sessions were held each day from January 9 to 13, 2012 starting at
11am Pacific, noon Mountain, 1pm Central, 2pm Eastern.

The ALCTS Virtual Midwinter Symposium:

  • familiarizes attendees with basic leadership styles, strategies, and skills
  • provides practical suggestions for managing complex organizations at a time of profound change and at a time of continuing economic constriction
  • introduces techniques librarians can use to provide leadership for a diverse workforce
  • presents alternative leadership techniques and reviews skills needed for developing library leaders

This virtual symposium is aimed at a broad audience. All staff who supervise or manage library operations or who may do so in the future—regardless of the type and size of the organization—will find the symposium beneficial.

There are no prerequisites for attendance. No continuing education credits will be issued.

ALCTS Virtual Midwinter Symposium Sessions

Date Title Presenter
Monday, January 9 I'm Your Leader: the Fundamentals of Effective Leadership
This session offers a roadmap for solving leadership challenges through an engaging and authentic question-based model. Learn how to apply insights to routinely identify, diagnose, and solve leadership challenges. This session springs from three key research findings:
  • Good leaders solve problems. However, great leaders begin by asking the right questions to make sure the right problem is solved.
  • Leadership looks complex and is often practiced that way. However, leadership is really organized into five straightforward themes that can be mastered: vision, values, action, situation, and the relationship between leaders and followers.
  • Leaders don’t emerge from factories with preprogrammed styles, habits, or rules. Instead, successful leaders understand and work from their own strengths while building a team around them to close needed gaps.
Adam Goodman
Tuesday, January 10 Leadership by Disruption
When the future is uncertain, to some people the safest direction is either to do nothing new or to accelerate strategies that worked in the past. With the challenges that libraries face today, our future success cannot be modeled on the past. To lead libraries that survive and thrive in the future requires a willingness to rethink the rules, to be disruptive. It requires a willingness to invent a library that relates to people who have instant access to information 24/7. Leadership in this environment requires leaders, who are willing to ask disruptive questions, create collaborative teams, have a sense of courage and an ability to take risks.
Pamela Sandlian Smith
Wednesday, January 11 Leadership: What It Means for the Library Middle Managers
The middle manager manages up, down, and across the organization. Middle managers are the glue between the vision of senior leadership and the frontline workforce. Your job as a middle manager is to translate vision into action, and you must understand both the work of your unit and the entire organization, with specific insight into how your unit fits in the whole. What leadership skills are needed by the middle manager? What role does she or he play in developing the next generation of library leaders? This webinar will discuss these questions and others relating to leadership and the middle manager.
Mary Page
Thursday, January 12 Leadership: From Proto-Star to Supernova
Why is leadership important in libraries today? How can you be an effective leader in your organization? These questions will be addressed from the perspective of a leadership expert, Maureen Sullivan and an upcoming leader, Erica Findley. You will learn the difference between leadership and management, how to meet the expectations of new leaders, and how you can lead from any position.
Erica Findley and Maureen Sullivan
Friday, January 13 Leading Change
Many of our core conceptions of leadership and the nature of change do not mesh with current reality. Leaders, we often think, are crowned—created and blessed by the hierarchy to do the will of the organization. Similarly, we often think of change as rare and the product of careful planning. The reality is that leadership has little to do with hierarchy and change is both ubiquitous and emergent. In this session, we will talk about the role of leadership throughout the organization and strategies for leading effectively in a world of constant change.
James Hilton


  • Erica Findley, Digital Resources and Metadata Librarian, Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
  • Adam Goodman, Director, Center for Leadership, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
  • James Hilton, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Mary Page, Associate Director for Collections & Technical Services, University of Central Florida Libraries, Orlando, Florida
  • Pamela Sandlian Smith, Library Director, Anythink Libraries, Rangeview Library District, Thornton, Colorado
  • Maureen Sullivan, Maureen Sullivan Associates, Annapolis, Maryland and President-Elect, American Library Association

Technical Requirements

Computer with Internet access (high-speed connection is best) and media player software. Headphones recommended.

If you receive a Codec error when playing the recorded file with Windows Media Player, download the gotowebinar codec file from: The Codec acts as a patch that allows the recording, which is created with a higher version of Media Player, to play in version 7. For more information on playing the recording, see the FAQ.


For questions or comments related to the webinars or recordings, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or