Unravelling the leadership styles used by head librarians in universities in Kenya

Unravelling the leadership styles used by head librarians in universities in Kenya



Library leaders, , qualities of librarians, role of librarians, academic librarians, Kenya


There is an ongoing debate about what makes a leader successful. Whereas multiple views are discernible from the literature, the factors that determine leadership styles are not adequately discussed. This paper explores the leadership styles head librarians in university libraries in Kenya use. It specifically explores the roles and qualities of head librarians as leaders in universities in Kenya. Further, it analyses the leadership styles they apply and their effectiveness in facilitating successful university library leadership. The paper also examines the influence of age, educational level, and gender of the head librarians on their leadership styles. The study was conducted using a mixed methods research approach in eight (8) public and four (4) private university libraries in Kenya. Quantitative data was collected from library staff and library users (staff and students) using questionnaires, while qualitative data was collected from head librarians using interviews. The findings reveal that head librarians oversee the strategic and operational functions of university libraries. To perform these roles effectively, head librarians need effective communication skills. They should also be visionary, inspiring, motivating, patient, consistent and firm. The findings also reveal that the most effective head librarians apply a democratic leadership style. It is also demonstrated that while there may be some association between gender and leadership styles, it is not strong enough to be considered statistically significant. It also emerged that having a higher level of education (PhD) significantly influences head librarians’ leadership styles compared to having a lower level of education (MSc). However, the association between age and leadership styles was not statistically significant.


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How to Cite

Unravelling the leadership styles used by head librarians in universities in Kenya. (2024). KLISC Journal of Information Science & Knowledge Management, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.61735/1sn8e476




How to Cite

Unravelling the leadership styles used by head librarians in universities in Kenya. (2024). KLISC Journal of Information Science & Knowledge Management, 1(2). https://doi.org/10.61735/1sn8e476