Document Type


Original Presentation Date


Date of Submission

October 2022



Assuming an interim leadership role presents personal opportunities for professional growth and organizational challenges. These challenges may stem from the temporary nature of the position and a lack of clear direction or decision-making authority. External forces, in this case the COVID-19 pandemic, also contribute to interim leaders' challenges. Library administration at a large public research university with multiple interim positions worked to identify potential challenges and possible solutions for those designated to interim leadership roles.


This session will describe a plan created to facilitate the transition into and out of interim positions, set expectations for these roles, and ensure clear communication across interim positions at all levels of the organization. The session will be from the perspective of two librarians designated to co-lead a department over a period of 13 months. The department consisted of six librarians with liaison responsibilities, a staff member, a library intern (hourly staff), and a student worker . Emphasis will be placed on describing the challenges of supervising and motivating the department during a time of transition and uncertainty. There will also be a discussion on how continuing responsibilities were prioritized/balanced with interim leadership responsibilities. This was a critical consideration when creating the reporting and responsibility structure.


The plan related to interim leadership was a success and provided both interim department heads with an opportunity to grow professionally. As a result, both interim leaders transitioned smoothly back into their roles within the department while making a meaningful contribution to the department's direction. During the period of interim leadership, there were two notable accomplishments. A five-year plan tool/program was created to mentor those in the department regarding their professional growth. In addition, a mission statement was created that gave the members of the department a clear idea of the purpose of the work of the department.

Is Part Of

Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MAC- MLA) Annual Meeting Posters/Presentations