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Leadership by PALS

About PALS

The PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies (PALS) is a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania Library Association and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries to offer leadership development for librarians.

PALS driving philosophy is that leadership is a choice we make not a position we hold. Since its introduction in 2009, the PALS programs 

have sought to mentor librarians from all walks of life and encourage them to become active participants and leaders in their own right.

A group of PALS graduates and advisors

What began as a 3.5-day workshop for new librarians has quickly grown and expanded to include a second 3.5-day workshop for directors and a one day work shop for support staff. It is the hope of the PALS Planning Committee to continue to develop these programs and to help enlighten and empower Pennsylvania’s librarians by giving them all the tools they need to be a leader both personally and professionally.

Here are just a few of the things people are saying about PALS:

“A crash course in everything you wish you’d been told on Day One of being hired!” – Pamela Bodziock

“The Leadership Academy helped me gain the confidence I needed to be an effective leader, but it also showed me that I had that within me the whole time.” –Andreana Duffy

"PALS is a must for networking as well as getting to know more about yourself as a leader. I could never have done this from a remote location. PALS gets you out of your comfort zone and then expands your comfort zone so you will be sad when it's over. I would never have believed this myself but I made many valued friends and accomplished a great deal in an unbelievably short time." – Michael Celec


“The Directors’ Institute provided an opportunity to grow and learn new skills in management and planning, and also to network and expand upon the colleagues that you can reach out to for advice and input.” – Susan Jeffery

“PALS is an absolutely transformative experience. It’s like no other leadership training I have ever experienced in my life and it left  me re-energized and excited for my future” – Rebecca Calfe, Leadership Academy 2017

“It’s wonderful in the short term to watch participants come in as strangers and leave as friends. In the long term, it’s great to watch their careers take off.” –Janis Stubbs, Directors’ Institute Mentor

PALS Leadership Development Programs

PALS consists of three separate leadership development workshops held between April and June. Participants may not register for more than one workshop in a single calendar year.

Click on the links below for more information.

Leading Thru Challenges!

Leading thru Challenges is a 6-session, all-virtual leadership program.  Led by David Bendekovic, each session will include content centered on Strengths’ Based Leadership (book and assessment code included with registration), keynote addressed from PA library leaders with insights from their own experiences during challenging times, and interactive Q&A time. From staff to community needs, rapidly changing environments, budgetary constraints, and burn-out, our content and discussions will be meaningful and provide you with skills and connections to Lead thru Challenges!

Choosing Leadership: You Don't Need to a Title to be a Leader!

This one day workshop is specifically designed for non-degree librarians and support staff who are looking for ways to hone their leadership potential. Anyone who works in libraries, regardless of their position, is welcome to attend. This workshop is also open to students.

The 2019 Leadership Academy class

Leadership Academy

This 3.5 day workshop is designed for MLS/MLIS degree librarians whether they are fresh out of school or have been in the field for years. Participants will work closely with each other and with appointed mentors to explore what it means to be a leader and how they can make the choice to be leaders for their libraries. Participation in this workshop requires a 1 year commitment to assigned PALS group project. All participants must hold an appropriate degree from an American Library Association accredited school at the time of nomination. 

Directors' Institute

This 3.5 day workshop is designed for library directors and assistant directors. Participants will work closely with each other and with appointed mentors to explore what it means to be both a library director and a library leader. Special sessions with the Office of Commonwealth Library staff will highlight state offered tools to help all directors lead their libraries no matter how big or how small. Participants must be either a director or an assistant director at their respective libraries. There is no degree requirement for this workshop.


Past PALS Graduates

PALS Graduates since 2009


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This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.

Contact Us

220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717-766-7663 Phone
717-766-5440 Fax
800-622-3308 (PA Only)