Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher and Adult Education


Higher Education

Committee Chair

Mitsunori Misawa

Committee Member

William Akey

Committee Member

Charisse Gulosino

Committee Member

Adam Walker


Academic health sciences libraries are experiencing a challenging period of transition and competition. They are still transitioning from a print to electronic environment while facing competition from the Internet and other information providers. Higher education is going through a period of shrinking state appropriations while facing greater accountability and calls for more affordability. These challenging times, however, are also bringing opportunities to libraries to contribute more to their campuses and partner with other departments on new programs and projects. To realize these opportunities and make it through the challenges ahead, academic health sciences libraries will need good leadership. The perceived effectiveness of the library director and of the library is closely associate, and adequate funding for the library is primarily determined by the administration's confidence in the library leadership. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to better understand how academic health sciences library directors experience leadership and how their experience related to their understanding of effective leadership. The research questions that guided this study were:How do academic health sciences library directors understand their leadership and experiences as library leaders?What was their career journey that led them into library leadership?How do these library directors evaluate their effectiveness as leaders?Data were collected using phenomenological semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations. A thematic analysis was conducted to determine the essence of the leadership experience of the directors and how these experiences informed their understanding of effective leadership. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: 1) Understanding Leadership; 2) Path to Leadership; and 3) Measuring Success. These themes addressed the full range of leadership that academic health sciences library directors experienced from their early development as leaders to their reflections on their success. The implications of this study include recommendations for leadership development for emerging library leaders, including how to recognize emerging leaders, as well as the development of a tool to better measure a library director's effectiveness. Developing new leaders and improving leadership effectiveness in academic health sciences libraries would assist in proving the value of the library to their campuses and ensure a promising future.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.