Current trends and issues affecting academic libraries and leadership skills

Date08 January 2018
Published date08 January 2018
AuthorMohammad Aslam
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,HR in libraries,Library strategy,Library promotion
Current trends and issues
affecting academic libraries and
leadership skills
Mohammad Aslam
University Library, University of Nizwa, Nizwa, Oman
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to reflect on major issues and trends of academic libraries and
leadership in the changing nature of higher education. Changing environment of academic libraries has
impacted significantly on the knowledge, skills requirement and role of the library leaders, and how
organizations can maintain and manage the changing nature of academic libraries as well as leadership
while effective leadership is extremely required for the library leaders and organizations are concern about
future scenarios. The primary objective is to identify the key challenges in libraries, leadership skills and
approaches of the leaders, their effective leadership traits and future perceptions are discussed.
Design/methodology/approach The aim of this paper is to facilitate as how to develop effective and
successful leadership for the academic libraries during the changing nature of higher education. The findings
and recommendations in the paper are based on personal experience of leadership positions in an academic
library as well as experience of library leaders across the world.
Findings Academic libraries are facing similar challenges and issues across the world. This paper
identifies that library leaders need to be effective communicators, strategic thinkers, visionary, and able to
examine the new ways of working.
Originality/value This paper discusses why academic library leaders need a set of new skills and how can
they develop leadership skills and competencies in the changing nature of academic libraries.
Keywords Leadership, Academic libraries, Challenges and opportunities, Changing nature,
Skills and competencies, Trends and issues
Paper type Viewpoint
There are several definitions of leadership skills and all definitions try to explain and define
leadership qualities and competencies for academic organizations and other organizations
as well. Unfortunately, few studies have been conducted related to effective leadership in
academic libraries (Fagan, 2012). Although effective leadership traits are vital toward
influencing team to eagerly exert them and cooperate toward collective organizational goals.
Successful leadership is based on many key skills and competencies, these skills are highly
required to be a successful leader in academic libraries, and the best leaders provide
integrity, foster moral, clear vision, and stimulate innovation. Though there is no concept of
leadership in academic libraries without transformational leadership that motivates
subordinates to develop confidence by offering vigorous assistance for building high level
of performance. In the beginning, perception of the transformational method was expressed
by Burns (1978), in terms of political science area and later articulated in the theory of
leadership in institutions. Successful leaders are those who motivate and inspire their
subordinates to accomplish more than expectation and increase the workers confidence
levels by providing assistance to develop high standard and norms. As other organizations,
academic libraries also need leaders who have effective and successful leadership
competencies and skills for the future leadership. Library profession is reshaping because of
innovative technology and hybrid collections and it is crucial to identify the current
requirements for academic libraries, there is a need to build a strong leadership by
mentorship and training (Ross, 2013). In terms of an administration perspective, leadership
is an ability to transform theory into practice and leadersbehavior play an important role in
Library Management
Vol. 39 No. 1/2, 2018
pp. 78-92
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/LM-10-2016-0076
Received 3 October 2016
Revised 13 July 2017
Accepted 27 July 2017
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