The College Libraries Section (CLS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is the only section specifically for college librarians. In response to a 1989 conference panel of directors’ recommendation that there be program for developing college librarians as leaders for the next century, CLS sponsored activities to encourage leadership development, particularly in college library directors; such development was defined in terms of the creation of a leadership committee which had the charge of encouraging improvement of leadership among college librarianship. The result was the ongoing yearlong mentoring program, the College Library Director Mentor Program (CLDMP).
This dissertation reviews the history of CLS from 1940 through 2009. No previous study had looked at the evolving activities of CLS for the development of leadership, management, or both, or probed whether or not the directors participating in CLS activities have increased their knowledge, skills, and abilities about management and leadership or how they applied those attributes to their role as college library directors. Using narrative inquiry to construct a history of the management and leadership activities of CLS and the CLDMP resulted in placing the association members, new college library directors, their actions, and the ensuing activities in the temporal and contextual continuum in which they occurred. The historical records of CLS, interviews with three past CLS leaders, and content analysis of reports and curriculum from the CLDMP identified the critical, like, and other events of CLS’ professional development activities. Despite activities originating from the goal of developing leadership, the CLS Leadership Committee’s work, programs, discussion groups, and the CLDMP did not develop leadership, but were managerially-oriented.
This study represents the first phase of the CLDMP from its inception in 1992 through 2009. After 17 years, the founding CLDMP program directors announced they are retiring. Therefore, it appears to be an opportune time to consider changes based upon the findings of this research. Applicable leadership theories, suggested by the narrative and report analysis, such as transformational leadership, emotional intelligence, and resonant leadership could strengthen the CLDMP curriculum to provide leadership development content. The CLDMP curriculum had general management goals, but no learning outcomes for the program. Several optional, outcome-based curriculum models for leadership development, such as one based on a leadership workbook approach, another on reframing approaches, and the Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions model, were described for CLDMP consideration.