It can be Tough at the Top: Some Empirical Evidence from Public Library Leaders

John Mullins, Margaret Linehan


This paper explores the topic of leadership as perceived and practised by public library leaders.  Library leaders have a wide-ranging impact on society but have been largely overlooked as the subject of serious study.  Prior to this study, only one small interview-based study and five survey-based studies have been undertaken on public library leaders/leadership — all in North America. 

The current study is the most in-depth study to date.  Thirty top-level public librarians from Ireland, Britain, and the east coast of the United States were selected for inclusion in this study.  This study of the perceptions of senior public library leaders, across national boundaries, makes a theoretical contribution both to the limited extant literature on leadership in librarianship, and the broad corpus of organizational leadership literature.  The particular focus of this paper is on the difficulties encountered by the interviewed librarians on public library leadership.

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International Journal of Business and Management   ISSN 1833-3850 (Print)   ISSN 1833-8119 (Online)

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