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Library Leadership Engagement for Transformative Academic Library Spaces

Sara Elizabeth Quagliaroli, Johnson & Wales University


The environment in which higher education institutions are situated has been impacted by a number of disruptive forces since the early 1990s, including acceleration in the capability of information technology (Beagle, 2006; Bennett, 2003; Foster, 2014), changing attitudes about learning pedagogy (Barr & Tagg, 1995), and calls for accountability from government and the public (Appleton, Stevenson, & Boden, 2011; Forrest & Bostick, 2013). Innovative leaders in academic librarianship have been empowered by their institutions to lead efforts to create transformative library learning spaces that can effectively leverage the opportunities presented through these disruptions to aid the institution in meeting its goals, now and in the future. The theoretical framework for this study was grounded in planned (Lewin, 1951) and emergent change (Bess & Dee, 2012; Burnes, 2004, Leslie, 1996) theories, which are both needed to foster sustainable and transformative outcomes (Mossop, 2013). The following research question guided this study: How do organizational leaders experience engagement with stakeholders during the creation of library learning spaces, from visioning through planning, implementation and evaluation? This basic, interpretive, qualitative study employed individual, semi-structured interviews with (N=11) library leaders who possessed primary responsibility for leading others to facilitate creation of library learning spaces at their institution. Projects serving as subjects for the study were completed between 2011 and 2016. Leader subjects were identified through intentional and emergent sampling. Themes were inductively identified through open and axial coding methods (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). Artifacts related to the library space projects were analyzed to corroborate findings. Elite interviews with (N2) professionals from varied backgrounds who have expert knowledge on library learning space design were implemented to integrate additional perspectives into findings. Five principal findings were identified that framed the process of leadership engagement through a library space project: 1) Input: Leadership Characteristics & Project Ignition; 2) Project Drivers: Institutional Authority, Mission, & Needs; 3) Building on Relational Capital; 4) Persistence through Planned Change; and 5) Maintaining Sustainable Spaces. This study may contribute a greater understanding of leadership requirements for library space design projects, as well as identify activities associated with project success.

Subject Area

Library science|Organizational behavior|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Quagliaroli, Sara Elizabeth, "Library Leadership Engagement for Transformative Academic Library Spaces" (2017). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI10276529.