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Library Leadership in a Digital Age

3/17/16 to 3/19/16


Tuition: $2,655 per person

What You Will Learn

Gain both conceptual insight and practical knowledge on how to function as an effective library leader within rapidly changing societal and institutional contexts.

Program Overview

Library Leadership in a Digital Age brings together faculty experts, policymakers, and library leaders to consider the current state and future direction of the profession. During the program you will identify fundamental changes occurring in the field of knowledge management and consider their implications for libraries, information services, and library leadership.

As a participant, you will examine how new technologies are redefining the teaching/learning process and develop practical strategies for leading libraries more effectively during uncertain and evolving times. The curriculum addresses several overarching questions:

  • Is the library a physical place, a set of coordinated information services, a vehicle to enact new understandings about teaching and learning, or all of the above?
  • What will learning look like in the future and how will libraries need to respond?
  • How must the role of the library be reimagined as new digital media, resources, and services expand and sharpen?
  • What new opportunities — digital and otherwise — exist for libraries to become architects and purveyors of intellectual communities in ways that heretofore were not possible?
  • How should library leaders adapt their leadership practice to take maximum advantage of these new and unprecedented opportunities?
Program Objectives
  • Become a more effective library leader within a changed institutional context
  • Understand the changing nature of library leadership in a digital age
  • Consider the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and limitations, promises and pitfalls of new digital media, resources, and opportunities
  • Examine new design and delivery options for library resources and services
Who Should Attend
  • Library leaders operating in a variety of settings and contexts including colleges, universities, professional schools, k-12 schools, research organizations, historic preservation/archives, and public libraries
  • Senior-level library leaders in significant decisionmaking positions who are interested in crafting an exciting new vision for their libraries and serving their many constituents more strategically, more comprehensively, and more effectively
What People Are Saying

“I have never been sad to leave a conference before, I was today. I wanted to stay and continue to learn.” —Kristi Palmer, Digital Scholarship Team Leader, IUPUI University Library, Indianapolis, IN

“I thought it was wonderful. I particularly appreciated the degree to which the lectures fully engaged with us in the sessions.”  —past participant

“It was excellent—I appreciated having the time set aside to think and learn about these issues.” —past participant


Faculty Chair

Joseph Zolner is senior director of the Harvard Institutes of Higher Education, educational chair for the Management Development Program and Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians at HIHE. As HIHE Director, he is responsible for the quality, relevance and variety of professional development programs offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the higher education community. Previously, Zolner served as Director of the Graduate Management Institute at Union College, NY and Director of the Graduate School of Business Administration at Northeastern University, MA.


Tom Blake, digital projects manager, Boston Public Library

Dan Cohen, founding executive director of the Digital Public Library of America

David Ferriero, archivist of the United States

Howard Gardner, The John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, HGSE and adjunct professor of psychology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Maura Marx, deputy director of library services at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Washington, DC)

John Palfrey, head of school at Phillips Academy (MA) and former vice dean for library and information resources at Harvard Law School. John’s most recent book is BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

Maureen Sullivan, consultant; Past President, American Library Association and Association of College and Research Libraries

Ann Thornton, vice provost and university librarian, Columbia University (NY)

Enrollment & Fees

Enrollment Instructions

Qualified applicants are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis. Admission decisions will be made within 3 weeks of submission of a completed application. Early application is encouraged.

Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two
You will be asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. ​Explain how participation in the program will benefit your work and describe one or more significant challenges you would like to explore during the program. (250 word limit)
  2. In what ways do you expect your particular skills, experience and perspective to contribute to group discussions? (250 word limit)


The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation at the close of the program.

Payment or a purchase order is due 30 days after registration. If acceptance into the program falls less than 30 days prior to program start date, payment is due upon acceptance. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses.


Hotel accommodations are made available to participants at a reduced rate. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Detailed program information and accommodation options will be provided to all admitted participants. Please note, the Harvard Graduate School of Education is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred. We recommend that you not make lodging and travel arrangements until you are admitted to the program. 

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted via fax or email. Full refunds will be given up to 30 days prior to the start of the program. Due to program demand and pre-program preparations, cancellations received 29–14 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of 10% of the program tuition. Cancellations received within 13 days prior to the start of the program and no-shows are subject to the full program tuition. Please note: cancellation fees are based upon the date the written request is received.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Harvard Graduate School of Education affirms the right of all individuals to equal treatment in education without regard to age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, handicap, national origin, or any other factors that are extraneous to effective performance. The Harvard Graduate School of Education will accommodate anyone with disabilities.

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