The aim of this chapter is to provide information and guidance on strategic leadership in library and information services. Library leaders work in many different situations, from directing a large library and information service with hundreds of staff to leading a small college or special library with fewer than ten staff. In addition, library leaders may be solo librarians working in schools or special libraries, or they may be leading from the middle. Whatever their job title or size of their library, librarians and information workers with leadership responsibilities will take a role in developing and implementing a strategic plan. The topics covered in this chapter are: getting to know your leader and the senior team; working in the senior team; working with stakeholders; strategic thinking and planning; strategic marketing; and the strategic solo librarian.
Getting to know your leader and the senior team
Libraries are positioned in many different ways within an organization: the director may be a member of the senior decision-making group; or a library director may report to a member of the senior decision-making body; or a librarian may report to the head of another service, meaning that she is a number of steps away from the decision-making group. This clearly varies depending on the type of library and its sector. For example, academic libraries in universities may be a separate unit or part of a converged service with IT, media and other services, or may be part of a super-converged service in a single academic/student support service. Similarly, a school librarian may report to the head teacher, the head of the curriculum or head of student support services. A knowledge manager in a business information service may report directly to the marketing or research director, or head of corporate services. For new leaders and managers, it means that you need to think about the position of the library and your line manager. You will need to manage your boss so that you can influence upwards.