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Leadership in Action: Developing the next generation of library leaders.

Calgary Public Library

Problem Statement

New librarians are asked to undertake a leadership role immediately within the organization and, for many, library school has not adequately prepared them to fulfill this role. Additionally, despite a century of service public libraries are not readily associated with leadership. How can Calgary Public Library foster a culture of leadership while simultaneously raising Calgary Public Library profile as a leader both in Calgary and the public library community?


The formation of a Leadership Action Team. Under the guidance of Calgary Public Library’s C.E.O., members of the Leadership Action Team meet monthly to reflect on selected readings, engage in practical modules and discussion. Members are challenged to identify and seize leadership opportunities within their own professional lives and to work collaboratively in implementing leadership practices across the organization. Through this formal mentorship experience, members of the Leadership Action Team are placed in a position to demonstrate their leadership abilities early in their careers.


In addition to gaining a fundamental understanding of leadership theories and practices, throughout the year the Leadership Action Team works together to organize a variety of leadership events:

Leadership Breakfast Series invite dynamic leaders from Calgary’s public, private and not-for-profit sectors to share their leadership journeys with library staff. These inspiring talks provide networking opportunities with organizations in Calgary, and associates Calgary Public Library with leadership in the minds’ of some of Canada’s most influential leaders.

Professional Forums showcase Calgary Public Library’s internal talent and leadership activities. The forums provide a venue in the organization for knowledge sharing and for staff to workshop presentations prior to presenting at regional and national conferences.

The Leadership Institute is a one day conference open to Calgary Public Library employees and staff from other library institutions working in supervisory and management roles. Participants learn and engage in leadership theory through different activities: skills development workshops and serious play. The Leadership Institute activities culminate with the presentation of the Leadership Award, which recognizes and honours the exemplary leadership of a Calgary Public Library employee. The Leadership Award includes a $1000 gift to be used in an activity that furthers the individual’s leadership journey.