Leading from the Middle: Changing approaches to library leadership and communication

Monday, 11/22/2021 - Friday, 12/17/2021

Middle Managers are influencers of workplace morale and talent acquisition and retention; they are expected to spark innovation in service models, collections, and spaces. As such, new middle managers need support in evolving their mindsets and approaches to leadership and communication. This course will fill a much-needed gap by blending the theoretical ideas about leadership with practical application. Rather than a checklist of do’s and don’ts, this course is about anticipating the effects of communication, so that leaders can flex their approaches and produce desired results. Ultimately, participants will shift into a leadership mindset that focuses less on how one leads and more on the people being led. This includes communication with administration, direct reports, peer managers, and campus stakeholders.

Participants will learn about the role communication plays in accountability and how it pertains to personnel goal setting, demonstrating department value, making a successful case for resources, and having difficult conversations about employee behavior and work performance. Participants will engage in scenario-based activities to build their skills in effective communication, including oral, written, and one-on-one communication skills in order to advocate for their department and hone their skills in discussing employee performance gaps. Participants will engage in conversations about cross-departmental communication and advocating for one’s department without negatively impacting other departments. This course will engage attendees through inclusive group discussions spurred by case studies and real-life examples from the facilitators.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize the need to hone different leadership styles to effectively manage people with different personalities and work styles
  • Recognize the role effective communication plays in employee accountability and performance
  • Determine effective communication methods for different management scenarios

Who Should Attend

Middle managers new to their role; middle managers challenged with new leadership or recent reorganizations may also be interested


Lyda McCartin headshotLyda Fontes McCartin, Interim Director, Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, University of Northern Colorado
Dr. Lyda Fontes McCartin is currently the Interim Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). Prior to beginning this position in January 2020 she served as Head of Information Literacy and Undergraduate Support in UNC’s University Libraries. In this role she managed full-time faculty, lecturers, and staff and oversaw a robust information literacy program that includes course-embedded and credit-course instruction. She is the co-author of the book Toward a Critical-Inclusive Assessment Practice in Library Instruction, which discusses involving students in the processes of assessing teaching and learning, and she recently completed a mixed-methods study exploring academic librarian deference behavior and its impact on the librarian-faculty relationship in higher education. That research indicates the needs for middle management development in academic libraries. Lyda's research interests include academic librarian behavior, library management, critical-inclusive practice, and the impact of faculty development on long-term change in practice.

Andrea Falcone headshot Andrea Falcone, Dean, Steely Library; Northern Kentucky University
For nearly a decade, Andrea Falcone has served in roles such as department head and associate director, and she is currently serving as Dean of the Library at Northern Kentucky University. In this position, she is responsible for envisioning the strategic development and integration of library research services, learning spaces, collections, and educational technology. Andrea has elevated the value of academic libraries at several campuses by successfully reconfiguring organizational structures, evolving positions and workflows, and communicating effectively to stakeholders. She is the Editor of the Beta Phi Mu Scholars Series published by Rowman & Littlefield and is the column editor for "Perspectives on Public Services," which appears in International Information & Library Review.



Registration fees:

ACRL member: $135
ALA member: $175
Nonmember: $205
Student: $75

How to Register

  • Go to the ALA Online Learning registration page.

  • Scroll down event listing under the November header.

  • Select the "Register" link next to the course name.

  • You will need to log in with your ALA ID & password. If you do not have an ALA ID & password, you will be asked to create one in order to register.

Course access instructions will be sent out one business day prior to the start of the course.

Class size is limited to 60 participants. Full refunds will be granted up to one business day prior to the start of the course.

Tech Requirements

The course will be offered in the Moodle platform.  A computer with Internet connection is required.

Your participation will require approximately 3-5 hours per week of primarily asynchronous activities to:

  • Read the online course materials
  • Post to online discussion boards
  • Complete online exercises and/or final assignment

Participants who complete the course requirements will receive a certificate of completion.


If you have a question about an e-Learning opportunity or need to make arrangements for special assistance, please contact Margot Conahan (mconahan@ala.org).