Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 2007

Florida's Library Leadership Program

Dr. Janine Golden and Faye C. Roberts, State Library and Archives of Florida

Effective libraries need effective leaders. The leadership development model used by the State Library and Archives of Florida prepares those who work in libraries of all types to provide high-quality services; serve in leadership roles at local, state, and national levels; increase their skills, energy, and motivation; and take the place of those who are retiring from the profession.

The Florida model, launched in 2003 and funded under the Library Services and Technology Act, uses a three-fold approach to develop the skills of individuals in management positions. The three components include a ten-month leadership institute, a formal mentoring program, and symposia for middle level managers. All components are coordinated by Janine Golden, library program specialist. Each year, a task force representing the Florida library community selects forty participants for the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute. This group includes library employees—both with and without graduate degrees in librarianship—who have been identified as emerging leaders by their supervisors or directors. The participants attend ten eight-hour sessions over a period of ten months. Due to the state’s size, sessions are held at two different locations and are attended by twenty participants each. The State Library and Archives contracts with a regional multitype library cooperative to handle local arrangements.

During the second year of the institute, a formal mentoring process was added and program content was expanded to include personality assessments, diversity, community advocacy, and the current and future status of leadership.

Leadership institute participants are required to select a mentor. Mentors, who cannot be the participant’s immediate supervisor, assist with career development goals and attend the first and final sessions of the institute. The first session includes a self-analysis using the Enneagram of Personality, and provides participants and mentors with insight into their partner’s leadership style.

The program coordinator maintains contact with participant and mentor pairs through a formalized introduction of the program, e-mail, and an online electronic discussion list. Paired partners communicate monthly via a combination of e-mail, telephone, and face-to-face contact, where mentors may introduce their mentees at meetings of library professionals and officials. The seven basic forms used to collect program data and measures of growth are based on those created by Linda Phillips-Jones ( The Mentee's Guide: How to Have a Successful Relationship with a Mentor, rev. ed. [Grass Valley, Calif.: CCC/The Mentoring Group, 2003]). A series of symposia for middle-level managers was added in 2006, and is now in its second year. The State Library and Archives selects the symposium topic and contracts with multitype library cooperatives to manage logistics. Recent topics have included "How to Juggle Everything: The Job of the Library Middle Manager" and "How Can I Help Them to Get Along: Conflict Resolution Skills and Strategies for Library Middle Managers." These single-day events have been successful in engaging middle-level library managers from public, academic, special, and school libraries. Evaluations are submitted at the end of each session, with data used to provide input for the next year’s content.

The Florida Library Leadership Program is a winning model for every level of the state’s library community. Library organizations throughout Florida benefit by growing their own leaders. Emerging leaders benefit from the knowledge and experience of current and former leaders, and participating mentors gain a renewed spirit of professionalism.

For more information, contact Faye Roberts or Janine Golden.