A blog from the Southern Ontario Library Service

Why Advancing Public Library Leadership?

As the coordinator of the APLL Institute, I am often asked why APLL is so expensive and what makes it a good investment for public libraries.  I’d like to address both these questions. 

While $3,600 (plus HST) might seem a lot of money, it is actually quite reasonable if you consider what it covers over a two-year period: 

  • Instant access to a supportive peer network that extends beyond the 2 years of the program
  • registration and all materials for 12 online courses;
  • presenters’ fees and materials for the face-to-face classroom sessions;
  • meals and accommodations for the classroom sessions;
  • and individualized leadership coaching and mentoring throughout the two years.

Another way of thinking about it is that APLL spans 24 months – which means that the program costs are $150 per month. That’s a pretty good deal for all of the benefits listed above. 

APLL was designed to have lasting impact on the individuals who graduate from the program and their libraries. Informed by leadership development research and the experience of other leadership program participants, APLL is premised on peer learning, experiential learning and many opportunities to practice leadership in a safe environment. Graduates report greater confidence, a better understanding of the municipal environment, being aware of themselves as better managers and leaders, and being appointed to positions of greater responsibility (including CEO).  While these outcomes are the results of any number of interdependent factors, graduates acknowledge APLL as a significant contribution to their development as effective leaders. In the words of Colleen Lipp, CEO of Caledon Public Library and an APLL graduate:

Thanks to the APLL program, I was able to successfully transition to the next level of library leadership.  The program gave me the confidence to take the next step, opened doors to new opportunities, and solidified my leadership skills so that I could succeed once in a new role.  My learnings were not limited to the course work, but were further enhanced by the extensive knowledge and varied experiences of my classmates.

In the words of Margie Singleton, CEO of Vaughan Public Libraries:

APLL offers not only leadership development opportunities but also practical information regarding Ontario’s municipal sector and the environment within which our public libraries operate. Information provided by the SOLS team and numerous guest speakers showcase the diverse municipal conditions and  interpretations of the same legislation in existence across the province.  APLL supplies a uniquely Ontario  and uniquely public library educational opportunity not available elsewhere.  At Vaughan we believe APLL equips staff with an excellent base knowledge, instrumental to their success in more senior management positions. Due to our great respect for this customized program, in 2016 Vaughan will subsidize 3 of our newest management staff to attend the APLL program.  We are confident this is a wise investment!

Leadership training is always a good investment because it is an investment in the library’s future.  Dynamic, innovative and relevant libraries are not possible without strong leaders!