About PLLeaders

In the 21st Century, public libraries face unique issues that warrant focussed thought, research, discussion, and visioning. The Public Library Leaders (PLLeaders) program, a partnership of the iSchool at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Urban Libraries Council / Conseil des Bibliothèques Urbaines du Canada (CULC/CBUC), is about the future of public libraries and the changing communities they serve.

This 18-month program is designed to engage seasoned library managers who have the desire and potential for the highest levels of leadership in  public libraries. It exposes them to  to themes, case studies, experiences, and relationships with outstanding current leaders to augment their preparedness. The Program includes frank and confidential sessions (in-depth “site visits”) with senior library executive teams, an instructional program with key learning outcomes, individual mentorship opportunities, and personal and online networking within a close 20-member cohort of colleagues.

Here is what current library leaders are saying about PLLeaders:

“The PLLF program was created to support the development of strategic senior library administrators who can better identify, understand and manage the issues that public library systems will face in the coming years. With the role of public libraries at a crossroads, the need for this type of professional development program is even more critical than ever.”

– Sandra Singh, former Chief Librarian,
Vancouver Public Library

“The PLLF program teaches public library leaders succession planning techniques and equips them with the necessary tools to help ensure the vitality, relevance and growth of Canadian public libraries in the changing communities they serve.”

– Catherine Biss, Past Chair, Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC/CBUC)
CEO, Markham Public Library

Here is what Graduates say as reported in their feedback survey:

“Best thing I’ve ever done!”

“This program has changed the way I think. Just before the final instructional session I participated in a strategic planning session in my own organization and through the conversation one thought kept running through my mind…let’s think bigger. What else can we do? What other ideas can we come up with? In that moment I realized that I had made a fundamental shift in my thinking to ‘what if we…?’ without getting stuck in the ‘how will we…?’”

“I was not prepared for the generosity of the library leaders and CEOs who opened their organizations to our group and gave us insights into their journeys. The generosity and willingness of the CEOs to share exceeded my expectations. I loved seeing our group learn and grow over the months that we spent together in the program.”

“In meeting with CEOs and other public library leaders I’ve come away with a deeper appreciation of our profession and of the work that has been done, and is being done, to continue to position public libraries where they belong… in the centre of our communities. I’ve built friendships – professional and personal – that I will continue to nuture. And perhaps most importantly, I have learned a great deal about my own strengths and opportunities for growth.”

“The program exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I went into the program wanting to learn more about being a public library leader, and building on my existing skills. The program provided me with opportunities to learn about the public library landscape and key topics of importance to all leaders. The opportunity to meet other leaders from across the country and interact with senior leaders was amazing and such a privilege. ”