The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided to exit the field of global library leadership, but wanted to leave the sector strong. It hired Arabella to research library leadership training programs around the world to provide a comprehensive assessment of the field.
In today’s rapidly shifting technological world, libraries are evolving into new roles as dynamic cultural and community hubs and connectors. As leaders of these centers, librarians need new skills and training to help them meet this changing reality. In 2015, the Global Libraries program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned Arabella Advisors to identify existing programs around the world and recommend opportunities for fostering a new era of library leadership. What we found was an uneven, often disconnected landscape of leadership development programs—a challenge compounded by limited access points and networking opportunities for librarians working in economically disadvantaged regions. This report highlights 30 international library leadership training programs from 83 countries that empower librarians to step up as leaders in their libraries and communities. These programs purposefully cultivate who librarians are innovators, risk takers, and excellent communicators who see themselves as agents and partners of change in their communities. Arabella sees incredible potential for donors to make an impact by investing in the expansion of visionary leadership training models that transform librarians into essential community leaders for the 21st century library.