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CLIR Publishes Essays on Leadership

subject: information leaders
library leadership
Karin Wittenborg
Chris Ferguson
Michael Keller


For Immediate Release: January 5, 2004

Contact: Kathlin Smith 202-939-4754

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As digital technology transforms the information landscape, libraries must chart their course in an increasingly fluid, complex environment. How is this environment redefining leadership in the information professions? What are the personal qualities that produce effective information leaders? Three leaders in librarianship address these questions in a new publication from CLIR entitled Reflecting on Leadership. The authors write personally and candidly about what they believe leadership is, how they developed an understanding of their own leadership styles, and how they apply that self-understanding to their daily responsibilities.

Karin Wittenborg, university librarian at the University of Virginia (UVa), reflects on the growth of several innovative projects at UVa during her tenure, including the Etext Center and the Library of Tomorrow. A willingness to take risks, embracing change, and seeking out true collaboration have all been important in providing leadership, she writes.

Chris Ferguson, dean for information resources at Pacific Lutheran University, writes about the changing dynamics of leadership. He believes that a leader must be at the “nexus,” rather than the “pinnacle” of change. He also emphasizes the importance of knowing what can and cannot be changed as a leader. His observations are offered in the context of his experience in establishing the Leavey Library at the University of Southern California, and in redesigning the library at Pacific Lutheran University.

Michael Keller, university librarian and director of academic information resources at Stanford University, publisher of HighWire Press, and publisher of the Stanford University Press, writes that library leadership is manifest in many roles. He describes these rolesÑmaster practitioner; advocate; steward, judge and power broker; mentor and colleague; and strategist, risk taker, and innovatorÑand illustrates each with examples from his career. “The carrying out of various leadership roles,” he writes, “is precisely what defines success for research libraries in this time of change.”

Reflecting on Leadership is available on CLIR’s Web site at The print version will soon be available for ordering through CLIR’s Web site, for $15 per copy plus shipping and handling.

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the management of information for research, teaching, and learning. CLIR works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good.

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