« Back to Operations

CVL Leads! (Chattahoochee Valley Libraries LEadership And Development Sessions)

Chattahoochee Valley Libraries

Problem Statement

 Chattahoochee Valley Libraries has had difficulty filling vacancies from within. Staff either do not have an MLS or have not had the opportunity in their jobs to develop or demonstrate the leadership skills required to obtain promotions. None of the current non-MLS staff members are in library school.


CVL Leads! is a two-year leadership program designed to grow leaders from within the organization. It’s a structured training program that provides classroom and hands-on training. A key element of this program is for participants to be involved in actual library projects so that they can apply theories to real situations and see the result. Mentors were assigned (from a list of choices the participants provided in their applications) to give them support during the program.

CVL Leads! is different than many leadership programs. It is a two-year program and allows part time staff as well as full time to participate. None of the five Leaders has an MLS.

Each participant received a paid ALA membership and is required to attend a library-related conference over the two-year period. The ALA membership and conference attendance requirement is intended to familiarize and interest the participants in library issues, encourage participation in the profession and encourage pursuit of an MLS.


The program began in September 2009. The CVL Leaders’ first big project was to plan the annual Staff Training Day for the 125 staff member library system. The five person group selected one of their own to be the Project Manager, who was able to demonstrate his leadership ability for the entire library system. The Staff In-Service was held on February 22, 2010.

Two of the Leaders have registered to attend national library conferences; one will be attending PLA in Portland and another will be attending and presenting during the Computers in Libraries Conference in April.

CVL Leads! is a pilot program and will be changed as needed to provide the greatest benefit to the participants and the organization. It has, so far, provided opportunities for the group to participate in a system project and interact with staff they normally would not in the course of their workday. Administration now has a better understanding of their leadership and project management abilities which will help when promotional opportunities become available. Four of the five have indicated an interest in obtaining an MLS.