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Library Leadership in a Digital Age

3/16/17 to 3/18/17


Tuition: $2,800 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 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)
Fees, Hotel Accommodations, and Policies

The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms a reservation, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered. If funds are unable to be processed within these guidelines, a documented payment plan is to be sent via mail, e-mail, or fax, and received two weeks prior to the program start date.

Please click here for more information on hotel accommodations for on-campus programs.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

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.

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