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Library leaders

Gardiner Centre hosts first national training program for university librarians

Campus and Community

By Susan White

Academic librarians from across Canada will gather in St. John’s next week for the country’s first training program aimed at library leaders.

The Signal Hill Campus of Memorial University is pictured at dusk. Interior lights shine brightly.
Gardiner Centre is located at the Emera Innovation Exchange, Signal Hill Campus.
Photo: Submitted

The seven-day Academic Librarian Leaders’ Institute is a custom program developed by Gardiner Centre for the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). It will be offered at Signal Hill Campus from June 6-12.

Unique university environment

“As with most organizations, there are challenges facing Canada’s research and university libraries in developing its current and next generation of library leaders,” said Susan Arscott, who is responsible for custom training and partnerships at Gardiner Centre.

“There’s a need to ensure Canada’s senior library leaders are fully prepared for the leadership responsibilities they will face.” — Susan Arscott

“There are limited development opportunities reflecting the unique environment in which Canadian university libraries operate, and there’s a need to ensure Canada’s senior library leaders are fully prepared for the leadership responsibilities they will face. We’re happy to be supporting the efforts of the national organization to develop and enhance skills of library leaders.”

About 22 participants at the associate level of their respective institutions are expected to attend.

They’ll engage in coursework that focuses on areas of leadership critical to university library leaders, including engaging and motivating employees, facilitating effective change, managing projects and leveraging leadership strengths.

Deepening leadership capabilities

Vivian Lewis, CARL president and university librarian at McMaster University, says it’s a critical time of change and renewal for academic libraries.

“The pandemic and its subsequent economic and social upheaval directly impacted academic libraries and how they function,” Ms. Lewis said. “This interactive program aims to position library leaders with strategies to deepen their leadership capabilities to ensure short- and long-term organizational success, despite the challenges they may face in the future.

“It seems fitting that we should engage Memorial University’s award-winning Gardiner Centre, which provides the perfect environment for this highly specialized program designed to position Canada’s university libraries for a vibrant future,” she added.

Professional peer support

Crystal Rose has long dark hair.
Crystal Rose
Photo: Lori Lee Pike

This is the first time that Gardiner Centre has offered an in-person destination program for participants from across Canada.

Crystal Rose is the associate dean of libraries for Grenfell and Harlow campuses, a position she began in March. She is one of the program’s registrants.

“Although I’ve been an academic librarian for nearly 15 years, I’m new to my administrative role,” she said. “I think leadership training aimed specifically at academic librarians like me will benefit me enormously as I navigate the challenges of my new role.

“One of the benefits I’m looking forward to the most will be the wonderful networking opportunities. I’m very excited to meet and learn from new colleagues from other universities who will be experiencing some of the same challenges and opportunities as I will over the next few years,” Ms. Rose added.

Gardiner Centre

Gardiner Centre is the public engagement arm of the Faculty of Business Administration.

It offers courses and certificate programs year-round for public, private, non-profit groups and associations across Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond.

“We are excited to host the nation’s university librarians to help them become stronger, more capable leaders who will be well-positioned to lead university libraries into the future,” said Ms. Arscott.


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