This event is sold out! If you are a new director or considering a move into a director position, please consider joining us for Surviving and Thriving as a Library Director, an in-depth educational series featuring group workshop sessions as well as a one-on-one personalized counseling session.

Are you looking for the skills that will take you to that next level of leadership?

Library leaders are constantly managing teams of staff, volunteers, trustees, and others. It takes dedicated leadership to turn these groups into one cohesive team striving for a single vision. The Michigan Library Association’s Leadership Academy has a strong history of providing leadership training to librarians across the state and offers the kind of information you wish you could have learned library school. In the process, you will develop a cohort of colleagues from across the state to call on for support and inspiration as you navigate your way throughout your career. A variety of topics are presented over five in-person days and three Zoom meetings, and cover everything from leadership fundamentals to successfully managing the politics inherent in every library position.

Join the 2024 Leadership Academy cohort to expand your knowledge base on leadership skills such as emotional intelligence, communication, managing change, teamwork, and coaching. Understand your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, as well as more library specific information about finance, legislation and advocacy, media, and working effectively with a board of directors.

The 2024 cohort will begin in April and conclude at the 2024 MLA Annual Conference. Registration includes meals during in-person meetings, as well as hotel accommodations on April 29 and October 15.


Schedule and Meeting Locations

Session schedule subject to change.

April 29-30 Lansing
May 15 Zoom
June 20 Southfield
July 17 Zoom
August 20 Grand Rapids
September 18 Zoom
October 15 Traverse City
October 16-18 MLA Annual Conference – Traverse City


April 29 – Lansing Downtown Courtyard, Lansing

9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Session Includes: Breakfast, lunch, evening reception, overnight accommodations at the Lansing Downtown Courtyard

Welcome Session and Introductions
Before we dive into Leadership Academy we’ll take some time to get to know each other and learn some of the key strengths we share as leaders.

Emotional Intelligence and Agile EQ
The ability to express and control our own emotions is important, but so is our ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others. Imagine a world where you couldn’t understand when a friend was feeling sad or when a co-worker was angry. Psychologists refer to this ability as emotional intelligence and some experts even suggest that it can be more important than IQ. Learn more about exactly what emotional intelligence is, how it works and how it is measured.

Welcome Reception
Leadership Academy students are invited to an evening of food, fun and networking.

April 30 – Lansing Downtown Courtyard, Lansing

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Session Includes: Breakfast, lunch

Communication and DiSC Assessment
Great leaders communicate clearly and effectively with all people in a variety of situations. Participants will take a communication assessment and learn new strategies for creating and building positive relationships and communicating more effectively. This highly interactive session helps participants explore the dimensions of managing to the next level for themselves and others. This program will provide you with a strong foundation of tools and skills to help you understand yourself and your team and how to work more effectively in your crucial capacity as a role model. This program will also include skill practice and experiential activities and hands-on learning opportunities.

Managing Conflict
You might be tempted to steer clear of workplace drama and let employees work things out on their own, this kind of hands-off approach can backfire. Explore better strategies to resolve disputes while taking a deeper look at the role conflict plays in the workplace, the signs to recognize conflict and strategies for getting the team back on track.

May 15 – ZOOM Meeting

10:00 – 11:30 AM New Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM

Advocacy and Legislation
Understanding basic advocacy and how to and when to contact your elected officials is critical in promoting your library. Being effective in this kind of politics can often mean the difference between success and failure. Learn firsthand what is happening in Lansing and how you can make a difference.

June 20 – Southfield Public Library, Southfield

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Session Includes: Breakfast, lunch

Managing Change
Leaders need to be equipped with the right framework to deal with unprecedented challenges & circumstances. Effective change management takes a solid communication plan, learning opportunities, and reinforcement.

Law and Legal Issues
Like any public entity, public libraries have multiple legal considerations. But toss in the additional constitutional and establishment issues, and you have a unique legal environment. Participants will learn some common legal issues that occur in libraries and how it can be applied to their unique situations.

July 17 – ZOOM Meeting

10:00 – 11:30 AM

Working with Boards
Research shows that high-performing boards require a staff who can effectively support a strategic board. The session of Leadership Academy will cover effective agenda planning, time and meeting management, tips on keeping the board focused on the agenda, and effective facilitation tips.

August 20 – Amy Van Andel Branch of Kent District Library, Ada

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Session Includes: Breakfast, lunch

Coaching for Success!
Having successful coaching conversations with others defines your leadership ability and success in influencing. The focus is on effectively listening to what others are really saying, asking the right questions without judgment and probing for clarity to get others to become open-minded and view options with clarity. Use encouragement and development feedback to reinforce and guide successful performance to improve individual and your department’s morale, motivation and productivity. Through discussion and case studies you will map an action plan to help develop your leadership skills.

Communications and Public Relations
As a library leader it is important to mold and shape your library’s image and brand, especially when you only have a moment to respond to a news incident. This session will describe how to conduct an audit of your library’s communications, dialing in on your brand promise, and the important framework for crisis communications.

September 18 – ZOOM Meeting

10:00 – 11:30 AM

Library Finance
Comprehensive budgeting, sound financial management, and reporting are cornerstones of a healthy bottom line. Responsible and transparent fiscal management means knowing how to develop a budget but also how to manage and update it. With this session, you will increase your financial awareness from the professionals and receive feedback from a library professional on implementing these tools in the real world.

October 15 – Peninsula Community Library, Traverse City

10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Session Includes: Breakfast, lunch, evening reception, overnight accommodations at the Grand Traverse Resort

Time and Stress Management
Tips and techniques will be shared for how to effectively cope and manage emotions so that you can make the best out of each and every day.

Together Everyone Accomplishes More! Strengthen your teamwork and optimize productivity throughout your library. When employees are engaged they are more committed. In this session, you will learn how to work together cohesively. You will explore how to motivate, engage and retain employees.

Pre-Graduation Party
Following the conclusion of educational sessions Leadership Academy students are invited to an evening of networking.

October 16 – Grand Traverse Resort, Traverse City

9:00 – 11:00 AM
Session Includes: Breakfast

Graduation Breakfast
Leadership Academy students are invited to a private breakfast before the start of the MLA 2024 Annual Conference to celebrate how far they’ve come on their leadership journey!


Tuition Rates

Registration Rate Early Bird – Before March 15 Standard – Beginning March 15
MLA Individual Member $1,445 $1,545
Non-Member $2,890 $3,090

Member pricing is dependent upon affiliated or unaffiliated individual membership status. Organizational membership is not applicable. In order to receive the discounted member price, individual membership must be current at the time of registration and maintained throughout the entire 2024 MLA Leadership Academy program. No refunds will be given for uncompleted programs and sessions are not available on an a la carte basis.


Event Policies

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations for MLA in-person and hybrid events (including the annual conference, if virtual) must be received in writing by e-mail no later than ten (10) business days prior to the program in order to qualify for a refund. Within ten (10) business days of the event, no refund will be issued. Registrations received within ten (10) days of the program are not eligible for a refund. No-shows will be invoiced.

A $150.00 processing fee will be applied to refunds for this event.

If an MLA professional development workshop, conference, webinar, or other training session is cancelled due to low registration or inclement weather, participants will be notified and fees, if applicable, will be refunded.


Registration and attendance at, or participation in, MLA meetings or other activities constitutes an agreement by the registration to the use and distribution of the registrants or attendees' image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions of such events and activities by MLA. Please contact MLA at [email protected] if you'd like to be removed from any list.

Code of Conduct

Download the complete Code of Conduct (pdf)

MLA’s vision is to be a highly effective, trusted network of libraries, library employees, trustees, friends and supporters working together to support and promote the highest quality library services throughout Michigan. To fulfill our vision, MLA has built, and is dedicated to maintaining, an inclusive and equitable community where all people can come together to advance our shared vision.

MLA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all participants and MLA staff. Each participant, including attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, staff, and service providers, is expected to understand and follow MLA policies and report any violations. These expectations apply to all MLA activities (whether virtual or in-person), including but not limited to those held in conjunction with conferences, events, and meetings.Any conduct that is prohibited in-person is also prohibited online, including but not limited to on MLA social media pages and other online platforms. 

Health and Safety Guidelines

We ask you to be courteous and conscientious of others while meeting in-person at the event, especially when it comes to health and safety.  

Common Allergens

MLA will make every effort to ensure that provided meals are free of any declared allergens. Please ensure you have alerted MLA staff to any allergies you may have. If you have emergency medications, such as an EpiPen, please carry it with you during the conference.

Although we always aim to work with you to provide a safe and comfortable conference, we cannot guarantee a completely allergen-free event or prevent others from bringing potential allergens to the event. Conference attendees and exhibitors are asked to refrain from bringing, distributing, and consuming products containing peanuts and other nuts at the conference.


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