Will your next library director have an MLIS?





MLIS, director turnover, leadership development, midsize academic libraries


Higher education is facing declining enrollments as well as high tuition rates, and, as a result, the value of educational degrees is under intense scrutiny. This effect is wide reaching and is impacting academic libraries through reduced collection development budgets, employee turnover, and hiring freezes. Library directors need to rely on their leadership skills to develop strategic plans and motivate library colleagues to adjust and grow in this unsettling environment. How have library leaders developed skills to persevere in these challenging times? This study examines graduate degrees and work experience attained by library directors in midsize academic libraries. With a sample size of 127 directors, it was found that 95% held the MLIS degree and 29% had doctorates. Directors have worked their way up through the ranks by holding previous positions as associate directors, assistant directors, coordinators, or heads of a unit thereby enhancing their leadership portfolios. By happenstance, partial data was gathered initially during August 2020 but completed in February 2022, and within those 19 months, the turnover rate of 104 library directors was 19%. As our aging profession loses directors to retirement, what graduate degrees will search committees require for their replacements?

Author Biography

Kristine Condic, Oakland University

Kristine Condic is Professor and Reference Librarian at the Oakland University Libraries in Rochester, Michigan.




How to Cite

Condic, K. (2022). Will your next library director have an MLIS?. Library Leadership & Management, 36(2). https://doi.org/10.5860/llm.v36i2.7534