Challenges of academic library leaders in disruption era

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Nowadays, technology has reached every part of our life. Technology has changed the way we live and work. Today, in the era of the internet, the era of disruption, students can easily get their learning materials on the internet, which may be more complete than material which they get in their classroom. Teachers and lecturers are also able to get and deliver learning materials easily through the internet. Teacher or lecturer also can conduct an online class or lecture. Distance is not a matter anymore. In the past, to get articles, books, or references, we had to go to the library and/or bookstore. Meanwhile now, big data offer them all. “Any” information from various themes and topics, e-books, e-journals, are available in SlideShare, SlidePlayer,, and any other websites or blogs.

This disruption also fundamentally alters academic libraries in the last two decades. Most of traditional library services have converted to electronic services. Some of the major developments in university libraries are: online scientific communication, mobile technology, social media application, digital creation, and preservation (Jain, 2016). University librarians face challenges which come from alters caused by the digital environment. These alters are shown by information and communication technology, which continues to develop and available for distant user. One of the job that will be extinct is a librarian (Kasali, 2017). Librarians need to make their mindset, become holistic, so they can reinterpret and re-shape the profession that they chose, as well as able to create something new. Thus, the profession of librarian will remain exist and needed all the time (Fatmawati, 2018).

The leader has a central role in the interaction and that influences the behavior of other members in the group to achieve goals. In carrying out the role of the leader the problem will emerge as the interaction between the leader and the individual being led, including the environment (Kartono, 2016) so that the Leadership functions to invite to influence and move others to do something to achieve certain goals (Setyowati, 2013). Leadership is about building teams and developing their ability to skillfully make decisions (Levine Crom, 1993).

In conducting interactions, the leader must have its own criteria. Kumara said that the criteria that must be possessed by leaders include leaders setting direction and speed, motivating leaders, setting goals, and determining policies (Maha, 2012). Leaders who have been able to meet the criteria well will be able to create leadership functions that are in line with expectations. The function of leadership is a social phenomenon, because it must be realized in interactions between individuals in the social situation of a group / organization. Veithzal (2003) states that the leadership function has two dimensions such as: a. Dimensions relating to the level of ability to direct (direction) in the actions or activities of leaders. b. Dimensions relating to the level of support (support) or involvement of people who are led in carrying out the main tasks of the group / organization.

The library is an organization which keeps developing to adapt towards the changes ahead. In an organization, a leader is surely needed to lead the organization to the success. A leader is needed to organize and manage the organization so the organization can achieve its goal. A reliable leader is needed in order to lead the library in the new world nowadays. It is also applied for academic libraries. The leader of academic library holds an important role in managing library in order to face the situation which continuously changing because of the development of information technology in the era of disruption. The leader of academic libraries in the 20th century urgently needs skill of library leadership, since there are a lot of challenges that can be handled by a skillful leadership (Ashiq, 2018).

University library, as the other organizations, also faces challenges due to rapid technological development. Continuously changing conditions will keep going, and disturbs the existing order, including the use of the library. An organization needs a leader that can bring success to the organization, so does the academic library. The academic library leader must be able to adapt to any kind of conditions nowadays and ready for the upcoming condition. Leadership training for the library staff and regeneration of library leader is urgently needed, and will give significant impact to the attitude of leader towards the library. Besides that, library science major’s support also needed in order to produce the next academic library leader. The major can give the support by adding management and communication skill in their curriculum.

Author: Anis Eliyana

Details of this research available at:

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Media komunikasi dan informasi seputar kampus Universitas Airlangga (Unair).

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