Fellowship Openings

Developing Library Leadership to Strengthen Community Services

Project: Developing Library Leadership to Strengthen Community Services

Agency: Los Angeles Public Library

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Project Context

Public libraries have long served as community hubs, providing vital resources and serving as neighborhood meeting and learning spaces. With the rise of digitization and other technologies, that role has become even more crucial. For libraries to be successful in the 21st century, they must embrace the challenges and opportunities of more fully engaging with their communities and finding new ways to cater to their changing needs.

Through its Central Library downtown and seventy-two branches, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) serves over four million people, more than any library system in the nation, a large percentage of whom are non-native English speakers. The district encompasses part of the country’s wealthiest demographic but also its poorest. For underserved communities, in an era where more affluent populations can access vast resources on their personal devices, the library’s resources are vital to bridge the technology gap and offer programs that help them complete education, become citizens, and find jobs, housing, and healthcare. In recent years, the Library has expanded its efforts to improve the lives of Angelenos in accordance with the recommendations of its Strategic Plan 2015-2020, based on a survey of 11,000 residents, calling for “expansion, innovation, and evolution.”

In an era when librarians’ functions are shifting, LAPL, which employs over 1,500 people, recognizes that a strong leadership pipeline is necessary to continue its efforts to leverage new capabilities and improve community responsiveness and relevance. Management is committed to investing in talented and creative individuals who’ll be able to take on more responsibility and strengthen LAPL’s connections to the community—in fact, become community leaders themselves. Leadership must be developed across the organization with an emphasis on long-term sustainability. The goal is particularly urgent because the City of Los Angeles and its agencies are facing a workforce shortage, as 40% of City employees become eligible for retirement this year; the Library wants to ensure that new hires will be able to develop a leadership mentality. To support this work, the Los Angeles Public Library will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will create a robust leadership development program, supervise a pilot implementation of the program, and plan a strategy for its viability going forward.

Project Summary & Potential Deliverables

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the fellow and the host agency.

Starting in September 2018, it is proposed that the FUSE Fellow will begin by conducting research and
stakeholder interviews to assess the landscape of the Library’s leadership structures, challenges and goals. The fellow will use data to gain insights about the community’s usage of the Library and other metrics related to the Library’s objectives. During this phase, the fellow should demonstrate an aptitude for forging strong relationships with cross-sector stakeholders to help build momentum for the program and ensure buy-in at later phases.

The fellow will be asked to design a number of training modalities and guide the Library’s management team through the decision-making process through cost-benefit analysis and other evaluative frameworks. The leadership development program will be designed to supply a strong leadership pipeline with long-term sustainability that addresses the need to increase and enhance LAPL’s engagement with and service to the community. The fellow will transition from strategy to execution, overseeing an initial implementation of the program, working to ensure buy-in from stakeholders, then setting up a larger rollout of the program organization-wide.

Ensuring the program’s sustainability will require strategic thinking, long-term goal setting, and the ability to produce models for resource allocation and performance metrics going forward. By leveraging the strengths and expertise gained in the private sector and applying them to the Library’s objectives, the FUSE Fellow will assist the Library in constructing a sturdy leadership pipeline, deepening its connection with the community, and in so doing, improve the lives of Los Angeles residents.

  • Evaluate leadership development efforts and best practices — Meet with LAPL executives to determine objectives and Conduct research and interviews with stakeholders, analyze previous and existing efforts at LAPL to create a leadership pipeline. Identify successful and unsuccessful elements and gain an understanding of contributing factors. Analyze best practices and survey leadership training programs at other libraries and public-service oriented agencies in large cities.
  • Engage and align stakeholders around goals — Set up lines of communication with external stakeholders (such as labor union and other city agency leadership) and all layers of the LAPL Assess their needs and perspectives, identify potential obstacles. Consider nuances that may impact the design and potential success of the initiative. Ensure that ancillary objectives and skills like promotion and marketing—among the priorities identified in LAPL’s Strategic Plan—are included in discussions with relevant stakeholders and departments.
  • Design varied approaches to creating a leadership development program — Generate several training modalities for management to For each, determine the size and makeup of each cohort, how participants will be selected, curriculum, the best way to deliver material, and skillsets to be developed. Specify logistical detail including whether training will be take place internally or externally, who will conduct it, and length and frequency of modules. Provide information and processes for management to use in evaluating options and weighing the cost- benefit analysis of each.
  • Implement initial phase of development program and sustainability strategy — Work with stakeholders to create and launch a comprehensive leadership development program based on LAPL Select initial cohort and training facilitators, determine how to measure program outcomes and trainee achievements. Make changes as necessary based on assessments of pilot program. Determine key factors that will promote sustainability of the program organization-wide for the long term and draw a roadmap for a larger rollout over the next several years. Plan for budgeting and staffing and ensure mechanisms are in place for incorporating changes based on evolving values and needs of the organization.

Key Stakeholders

  • John Szabo, LA City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library
  • Susan Broman, Acting Assistant City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library


  • At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in leadership development within a Fortune 500 company or as a consultant, or with significant experience as a project
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise
  • Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent
  • Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex
  • Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.

To Apply

Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.

A FUSE Fellowship is a 12-month engagement requiring fellows be primarily committed to their partnership with the government agency throughout the year to ensure the success of their project. Fellows are retained as independent contractors of FUSE Corps and are paid an annual stipend of $90,000 through monthly installments. This commitment begins on September 24, 2018 and ends September 20th, 2019.

The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.