Professional Education

Library Leadership in a Digital Age

March 19-21, 2015

Tuition: $2,525

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What You Will Learn

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

Program Overview

Digital technology is transforming the ways libraries must function to promote learning, advance knowledge and provide access to important information resources. These changes, in turn, have compelled library leaders to reevaluate their organization’s core goals, structure and purposes. Leaders must ask fundamental and unprecedented questions of practice—of themselves, their organizations and their constituents.


Library Leadership in a Digital Age brings together faculty experts, policy makers 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 education and consider their implications for libraries, information services, and library leaders. 

As a participant, you will examine new research on how people learn in a digital age and how new technologies are redefining the teaching/learning process. And you will 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 awareness of new digital media, resources and services sharpens?
  • What new opportunities—digital and otherwise—exist for libraries to become architects and purveyors of intellectual community 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?

Through interactive presentations, question and answer sessions, and small-group discussion, the program will provide both conceptual insight and practical ideas for how to function as an effective library leader within newly emerging societal and institutional contexts.

Program Objectives

  • Become a more effective library leader within a changed institutional context  
  • Understand the changing nature of library leadership in a digital age
  • Examine the role of the library in relation to institutional governance and the larger organization
  • Consider new research on how people learn and the impact of digital media on the teaching/learning process
  • 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, research organizations, historic preservation/archives and public libraries
  • Other senior-level educational leaders responsible for collaborating with libraries and their leaders to forge coherent strategy, effective initiatives, and sustainable partnerships

Testimonials: 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.”  —2013 participant

It was excellentappreciated having the time set aside to think and learn about these issues.” —2013 participant

Read more testimonials here.

Faculty Chairs

Lawrence Bacow is Fellow of Harvard College and President in Residence at HGSE. He also served as President Emeritus of Tufts University. A lawyer and an economist, Bacow's research focuses on environmental policy. He received his S.B. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, J.D. from Harvard Law School, and M.P.P. and Ph.D. from the Harvard Kennedy School.

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.

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.  


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. Detailed program information and accommodation options will be provided to all admitted participants. 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.