Libraries Connected today announce a new initiative to drive diversity in library leadership. Leading Libraries aims to tackle the lack of diversity among library staff by working with female and minority ethnic library staff who have the potential to lead libraries in the future.
While public libraries attract more diverse audiences that any other cultural activity, this diversity is not reflected in the library workforce, in particular*:
- Ethnicity: 97% of the UK library and information workforce are white (compared to 88% in the UK)
- Gender: The library and information workforce is 79% female and yet 47% of top earners are men.
Leading Libraries will recruit 15 emerging leaders from 15 library services for a programme that combines professional training with practical delivery. It will offer leadership development training for their heads of service and each emerging leader will mentor two members of staff from their own service. The project is led by Libraries Connected and CILIP, and is funded by the Arts Council as part of their Transforming Leadership programme.
Mark Freeman, President, Libraries Connected:
‘We are delighted that the Arts Council are supporting our Leading Libraries project. Public libraries are facing unprecedented change and we need transformational leaders to help protect and develop local services. Leading Libraries is a fresh approach to transforming leadership; empowering emerging leaders to drive change across their service with a clear focus on promoting ethnic diversity and tackling barriers for women leaders.’
Nick Poole, CEO, CILIP:
‘CILIP is delighted to work with Libraries Connected on Leading Libraries . We have bold, ambitious plans for the future of public libraries and their transformative impact on communities and we need a new generation of leaders to make these plans a reality. This programme will help us attract and develop new, diverse leadership talent to build the thriving, relevant and high-quality library sector of tomorrow.’
Sue Williamson, Director of Libraries, Arts Council England:
‘Transforming Leadership will support the development of diverse, effective leaders that are crucial to the sustainability of the cultural sector. This exciting programme led by Libraries Connected will drive long-term change, helping to ensure that a diverse range of people work in and lead our country’s libraries, and I look forward to seeing the impact it will have.’
Leading Libraries is also supported by the Local Government Association, Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association, Diversity in Libraries of the North, and the CILIP BAME Network.
*A study of the UK information workforce, CILIP/ARA 2015