ALA Leadership Institute: Leading to the Future

A unique leadership development program for future library leaders, offered by the American Library Association in August of each year.

Thank you for your interest in the American Library Association (ALA) Leadership Institute. The Institute will be on hiatus in 2022. During this time, member leaders from ALA and Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, will evaluate all aspects of the program - its learning objectives, audience, format, location, and relevance - and propose a redesigned Institute to develop and support future library leaders. As this process moves forward, we want to hear from you, whether you are a past participant, a future attendee, or just passionate about leadership education. Please send any comments or questions to

As we look to the future, we also celebrate the success of the previous Institutes, and thank previous presenters, Maureen Sullivan, past ALA, Kathryn Deiss, Library and Leadership Consultant. Their dedication and continuous development of the program resulted in hundreds of future library leaders being prepared for new roles in their libraries.

Previous Format of the ALA Leadership Institute

The Institute is a unique 4-day immersive leadership development program for future library leaders. It includes a structured learning track and the opportunity for individual development.


Learning Objectives:

  • Return to their institution with greater self-awareness and self-confidence, equipped with better skills for leading, coaching, collaborating, and engaging within their organizations and in their communities.
  • Return to their communities as better leaders, prepared to identify, develop, and implement solutions which will benefit all stakeholders.
  • Have the opportunity to form a vibrant learning community and network, which is an essential element of effective leadership development

Application Information:

  • Due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 Leadership Institute has been canceled. There are plans to hold a 2022 Leadership Institute. Application information will be made available once the 2022 Leadership Institute has been finalized. For more information, please contact the ALA Division Core: Leadership, Infrastructure and Futures at

Selection Criteria:

The selection committee reviews applications to select a participant mix based on type of library (public, academic, school, special, etc.), organizational responsibility, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity. This selective process is based on demonstrated leadership potential, professional achievement and community or campus involvement. Particular attention will be given to applicants’ personal statements as well as those of their references. In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 5 years of library work experience
  • Have a letter of support from his/her employer
  • Be ready to assume a higher administrative or managerial role
  • Be an ALA member at time of application
  • Be able to attend the Institute in the Chicago area

Selected participants are mid-career librarians ready to assume a higher administrative or managerial role, with some history of community or campus involvement.


        Photo: 2019 Leadership Institute Participants

        Click here to view participants from previous years.

        Click here to read participants testimonials.