Bold Minds: Library Leadership in a Time of Disruption

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Are librarians and libraries relevant in the 21st century? This is a fundamental question and one that presents differing opinions across the many diverse information sectors. If there is a continuing need for libraries and for librarians, then how do library leaders obtain strategic support when there appears to be a lack of clarity or understanding about the very purpose of libraries at a time when economically, libraries are under pressure to develop new business models and be more commercially focussed?

Bold Minds: Library Leadership in a Time of Disruption brings together international leaders who frame many aspects of the current library provision and who carry responsibility for the library models of the future to consider how librarians and libraries can be a driving force in a time of disruptive economic, technological, and cultural change.

Each chapter critically presents a short leadership provocation regarding libraries and their purpose, encompassing impact, service delivery, collections, staff skills, and professional training and assessing what it means for leaders, their sectors and organizations, and how they have developed their personal leadership signature. 

This book will be invaluable to library and information professionals in a range of public and private sector libraries as well as policy makers in services where libraries are a component. It will also be useful for students, educational establishments, and IT professionals with an information management element to their work.



1. Introduction - Margaret Weaver and Leo Appleton      

SECTION 1: Views from the Corridors of Power: The Political and Global Perspective       

2. Painting Books on the Walls: Why Libraries Have Lost Their Way and How They Can Rediscover Their Real Purpose in a Fragmented World - Richard Heseltine           

3. ‘The Way We Do Tadmihings Around Here’: An Analytical Framework for Managing Cultural Change in Public Libraries - John Pateman      

4. Leading Liberation in the Library - Leo Appleton           

SECTION 2: The Re-birth of Libraries – New Business Models and Re-generation of Services  

5. Do Library Partnerships Work and How Can They Help Build a Strong Future for the Library? - Judith Keene and Janine Downes           

6. The 21st-Century People’s Library - Liz McGettigan     

7. Repositioning The Academic Library To Drive Innovation And Agility - Robert Moropa, Lindiwe Soyizwapi, Marguerite Nel and Isak van der Walt           

SECTION 3: Who Really Matters? User Communities and Alignment       

8. Students Lead the Future: Academic Library Space and Place - Margaret Weaver

9. Leading Change in Medical Libraries in Sweden - Lotta Haglund, Annikki Roos and Petra Björk     

10. Corporate Library as the Organisation’s Mothership - Shaunna Mireau             

SECTION 4: The Future Library Professional – Horizons and Challenges  

11. Databrarian ED? Preparing Information Specialists for Participation in an Open Datafied Society - Sheila Corrall    

12. Digital Opportunities: What Digital Skills Do Library Staff Need in a Changing World? And Do They Have Them? - Rosie Jones             

13. Top Down and Bottom Up – The Librarian as a Senior Leader and Preparing For Senior Leadership By ‘Managing Up’ - Rebecca Davies


Margaret Weaver

Margaret Weaver is former interim Head of Library Services at Brunel University London. A founding member of the Northern Collaboration group of academic libraries, she has also chaired the (North West Academic Libraries (NoWAL) collaboration and has contributed to the professional literature throughout her career on subjects such as management and leadership, strategic staff development, learning support models, technology rich learning spaces and latterly libraries and the student journey. She is an Associate of the Higher Education Academy and a Chartered member of CILIP, the Library and Information Association.

Leo Appleton

Leo Appleton is Director of Library Services at Goldsmiths, University of London and is a researcher for the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, where he is currently undertaking research in the value and impact of public libraries in the UK. He has worked in numerous leadership and management roles in universities and further education colleges throughout his career and is a fellow of CILIP, the Library and Information Assocation. Leo is the editor of CILIP’s Multimedia, Information and Technology journal, associate editor of the New Review of Academic Librarianship, and co-editor of UKSG eNews.

”Bringing together a wonderfully diverse set of international library leaders, Bold Minds challenges common fears about the future of the library and contemplates how best to bring librarianship into a new era ... A powerful call to action."
— Law Library Journal