General FAQs

Who serves on the MLLI committee and the selection committee?

The Maryland Library Association formed the Maryland Library Leadership Institute Committee in association with the Maryland Department of Education Division of Library Development and Services (DLDS). Committee members include the MLA Executive Director and a representative from DLDS. Because of their enthusiasm for the Institute, many past participants also volunteer to serve on the committee. This is not required, however. Several past committee members, including a committee chairperson, have been among those who did not attend MLLI. A subgroup of the MLLI Committee serves as the selection committee. This group always includes the representative from DLDS.

How are committee members selected?

As with other MLA committees, the chairperson seeks volunteers from the Association membership. Members from all types of libraries are needed and are encouraged to volunteer.

How are mentors selected?

The planning committee searches for mentors who are currently serving as library leaders and administrators and are who willing to share information about their careers honestly. The committee seeks mentors who can avoid dictating a course of action, but rather offer suggestions and opinions judiciously in order to guide the participants in the development process. To the degree possible, the group of mentors includes diversity in age, race, gender, and type of library experience.

How often do they serve?

Terms are staggered so that each year features three experienced mentors and three who are new to this role in the Institute. While there is no written restriction limiting the number of times someone can serve as a mentor, to date no mentor has served more than two times.

How is the Institute marketed so that participation comes from a broad range of libraries?

The Institute is publicized in the Crab – the MLA newsletter, by email through the MaryLib list, at meetings of CALD – the Congress of Academic Library Directors, MASL – the Maryland Association of School Librarians, MAPLA – the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators, by direct mail to library directors and administrators, at the MLA annual conference and on the MLA website.

Is there a focus on public libraries?

While the majority of applications do come from public libraries, the selection committee works to be sure that all types of libraries are represented.This helps to give each participant the most fulfilling and educational experience possible. Of the applications submitted for the 2010 institute, 80% received from Academic libraries were accepted, 75% received from School libraries were accepted, and 56% received from Public libraries were accepted.

Are there separate tracks for different library types?

Because the focus of the Institute is on the development of leadership skills and knowledge that can be applicable in any situation, there are not separate tracks for participants from different types of libraries. The examples and situations used during the sessions can apply in any library.

What ages participate?

No consideration is given to the age of the candidate during the selection process. Participants' ages have ranged from those in their 20s to those 50 and older. The age distribution within the Institute reflects the age distribution of the pool of candidates from which the participants are selected. The majority of participants in past Institutes have included those in their 20s and 30s.

Is management experience a requirement in the selection process?

Management experience is not required and is not considered in the selection process. The goal is to identify and develop candidates with leadership potential. While many of these may be found in or moving toward management positions, it is recognized that leaders may be found at all levels of an organization.

What measures are taken to ensure diversity of age, sex, race, and type of library.

Initially, candidate applications are scored by the individual members of the selection committee and the scores for each applicant are totaled to get an overall score and ranking. Because the application does not ask about age, race, or sex, candidates are scored strictly on the quality of his/her application. Consideration is given to geographic location and type of library experience to ensure diversity.

Why is the number of participants limited? Why can't everyone participate?

The number of participants is limited in order for each of the candidates to receive the necessary amount of individual attention from the facilitators and mentors. Experience has shown that including a larger number has reduced the effectiveness of the Institute for all participants.