Women library leaders are fairly common at the beginning of the twenty-first century but this has not always been the case. Today there is a generation of Canadian women administrators who came up through the ranks of libraries that were overwhelmingly led by male librarians and who may have been perceived as less desirable than their male colleagues for promotion into leadership positions. Nonetheless, these women were able to attain leadership roles and account in some part for the reversal in numbers of males and females in leadership and administrative positions. This senior cohort of women is also likely to retire within the next five to ten years.
Many lessons in leadership can likely be learned from the current generation of women leaders. As women have made the decision to become library leaders, they will have had individual experiences of developing themselves in the role. At the same time it is possible that there are common experiences that have influenced the professional development of women in senior library positions. No studies have examined the professional lives of current women library directors to determine how their expectations, perspectives, and experiences shaped their development as leaders. This study reveals and describes the professional lives of women in leadership positions in Canadian research/academic libraries. When and why did they make the decision to apply for positions as managers or directors of libraries or to take a leadership role? What is their definition of leadership and has it changed over time? Are there stories, conversations, or critical incidents in their development as leaders that have been documented or that they can identify? Who or what influenced them and their career progression?
The data for this study were collected using a qualitative methodology known as narrative inquiry research. Qualitative interviewing that incorporates narrative inquiry allows study participants to focus on stories or events that are critical to them and that allow them to make meaning of their professional life experiences. This process of data collection involved semi-structured, in-depth, interviews with study participants in order to explore their career path and to determine critical incidents in their development as leaders. Data were analyzed using a categorical-content perspective.
Findings focus on early experiences, mid-career events, decisions and relationships, and development of authentic leadership capability in the study group of four women library directors. Critical incidents have been identified and re-storyed. These critical incidents are usually change experiences that could not be predicted and that served to affect study participants. development as leaders, and change their definition of leadership over time.
The results of this study contribute to strategizing on the part of women who are interested in leadership roles and promote fuller understanding of both the challenges and opportunities inherent in these roles. The study is also of interest to those who seek to understand the role of women in librarianship and how their leadership has influenced the development of libraries and of the profession. It should also provide a historical view of library leadership and changing thinking about women and their roles as leaders over time.
|School Location:||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Canadian studies, Library science, Womens studies, Management, Information science|
|Keywords:||Academic libraries, Canada, Canadian libraries, Leadership, Narrative inquiry, Women leaders|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be