NELLS 2023 Information TBD


To better serve all levels of library workers, NELLS is currently working with a three tiered approach. For 2022, the NELLS program will be for Tier 1 - Emerging Leaders library workers. Coming for 2023, we will be planning for Tier 2 - NELLS II: Mid-Career Leadership library workers. You must have an active NELA membership to apply for any of the NELLS programs.

Tier 1: NELLS: Emerging Leaders | Tier 2: NELLS I: Mid-Career Leadership | Tier 3: NELLS II: Advanced Leadership | Past NELLS ParticipantsNELLS Chair


Tier 1 - NELLS: Emerging Leaders

This program is designed to be an introduction to library leadership.  It is most appropriate for early to mid-career library workers who have demonstrated potential to become leaders in the field, or who aspire to hold leadership positions.  A Master’s degree in Library Science is not required in order to participate.


Tier 2 - NELLS II: Mid-Career Leadership

The purpose of this four-day intensive training program is to foster the mentoring and development of leaders in state and regional library associations. NELLS was created through a cooperative effort of the New England Library Association and all six New England state library associations. NELLS was introduced for the first time in 2003.

The NELLS Tier 2 program is designed for library professionals in mid-career (3-15 years experience in or with libraries). The program focuses on the application of leadership theory to real-world library issues.  Participants will focus on topics such as creating equitable workplaces/public spaces, leading through change, self-care, mentoring talent, developing a strong vision, building strong communities, resilience, and other topics that will nurture and mentor attendees as they prepare for senior leadership roles. Applicants must be NELA members in order to be considered for this program.

There is a nominal cost to the student to participate in the Symposium. NELA and all six state associations are financially supporting NELLS to keep the costs low for the Symposium attendees. There may also be scholarships available from your state association.


Tier 3 - NELLS II: Advanced Leadership

The NELLS II program is a three-day leadership program for library workers with 15 years or more experience (NELLS II) was offered for the first time in 2016 and again in 2018.  Participation is NOT dependent on having attended a NELLS program in the past.

The cost is typically around $800 for 3 days, including lodging, all meals & materials.

What is taught?

The curriculum covers the following areas:

  •     getting to know your leadership style
  •     interpersonal communication
  •     presentation skills
  •     managing differences
  •     risk taking
  •     the library within the community
  •     using power and influence
  •     understanding libraries as organizational systems
  •     transforming libraries
  •     the leader as a catalyst for change
  •     the leader’s role as coach and mentor
  •     achieving your potential

Attendees develop an action plan for their future commitments.


 Contact Information

For more information about NELLS, contact your state representative or the NELLS Chair.

Jenn Bruneau - Chair
She/Her
Northborough Free Library, MA 
413-323-5925, ext 113 
[email protected]