Public Library Leaders

Public Library Leaders

formerly the Public Library Leadership Fellows program

Application Period: NOW OPEN – fourth cohort will start October 2, 2018 in Calgary.

For more information on the PLLeaders program visit:

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.

For more information on the PLLeaders program visit:


Where possible effort is being made to pair site visits with library conferences to assist in minimizing travel expenses for participants. Instructional sessions are offered in conjunction with site visits and they are recorded for online access. The full instructional schedule is provided after registration. The preliminary schedule has been established for 2018–2020:

  • October 2, 3 & 4 – Calgary
  • January 28 & 29 with OLA Super Conference – Vaughan
  • Week of April 29 or May 6 – Halifax
  • Week of ALA – June 2019 – Washington, DC Area (with EveryLibrary)
  • Fall 2019 – Lower Mainland BC
  • January 2020 with OLA Super Conference – Toronto Public Library (graduation)

Current & Former Instructors

  • Lita Barrie, CEO, Burlington Public Library
  • Barbara Clubb, former CEO, Ottawa Public Library
  • Åsa Kachan, Chief Librarian, Halifax Public Libraries
  • Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library
  • Wendy Newman, Senior Fellow (retired), Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
  • Rebecca Raven, CEO, Brampton Library
  • Ken Roberts, consultant and former CEO, Hamilton Public Library
  • Maureen Sawa, CEO, Greater Victoria Public Library
  • Panels of CEOs from libraries near site visits are also presenters from time to time

Ideal Candidate Profile

  • Nomination of employer (formal requirement)
  • CEO or executive-level aspirations
  • Management experience
  • Personal confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Ability to identify personal learning and mentoring needs
  • Ability to research and write on library issues
  • Commitment to confidentiality and frankness within the Program

How to Apply

The PLLeaders program is designed for senior managers with a strong interest in pursuing Chief Executive and senior administrative positions in public libraries. Applicants should have the support of their current employer to participate in the program. The application submission must include:

  • Application form
  • Curriculum vitæ
  • Statement of intent: describe in 500 words or less what you hope to achieve in participating in this program. What past experiences have prepared you to be successful in this endeavour and what unique qualities will you bring to the program?
  • Letter of support: provide a letter of support from a senior administrator/board member of your institution. The letter should indicate a full understanding of the time and financial commitment, if any, your home library is willing to undertake on your behalf. Additionally, the letter should provide an endorsement of your eventual candidacy to move into the ranks of senior library administration.

Tuition Fee: The fee for the 4th cohort will be $1,995 (plus HST). Multiple payment plan options are available. Please feel free to contact Jefferson to discuss what suits.
Application Period: Applications are now Open – link below.  New cohort to start October 2, 2018 in Calgary. 
Apply online: Registration Form (PDF)

For more information on the PLLeaders program visit:

For more information about registering for the program please contact CULC/CBUC’s Executive Director Jefferson Gilbert. 416-699-1938 or