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Mission Bell Media publishes print and digital media for the library market with a focus on leadership. Publishing authoritative and empowering leadership content for libraries worldwide.

On Leadership

Leading Voices: Lucretia McCulley

Rolf Janke

It is a pleasure to connect with Lucretia McCulley from University of Richmond. Lucretia is not only a leader within her library, but as the librarian liaison for the Jepson School of Leadership she has frontline insight into modern leadership studies. 

Name:  Lucretia McCulley

Professional Title: Head, Scholarly Communications and Access Services

Organization: Boatwright Memorial Library, University of Richmond

As the librarian liaison for the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond you play a key role for a renowned institution. The topic of leadership is broad, what is your process for determining appropriate reference works for Jepson? Do you see leadership as an evolving discipline? What are some current leadership "hot topics"?

Choosing appropriate reference works in leadership has always been a challenge, because for many years there were very few available that focused explicitly on leadership. I have served as the liaison librarian for the Jepson School of Leadership Studies since 1992, when the school was founded, and there were very few reference books that focused on leadership at that time. However, in the last ten years this has changed dramatically as the discipline has evolved and we now have many titles that focus on particular aspects of leadership, such as political leadership, environmental leadership, gender and leadership and so forth.  The ability to search and use these sources online has also made a difference with leadership research. I also work closely with leadership studies faculty on reference works that they often recommend.  For example, we have several faculty members who work within philosophy and ethics and I recently purchased several ethics handbooks and encyclopedias. As a multidisciplinary studies area, faculty and students are drawing upon many disciplines to study the wide range of leadership-related issues.

Leadership Studies continues to evolve and as we bring new faculty into this discipline, they are shaping its future.  We currently have faculty members who study leadership and followership in video gaming, an emerging field of scholarly research.  Other faculty are focusing on local leadership issues, such as the history of power and structure of Richmond city government and leaders. Still others focus on leadership within historical movements and literature.  Several of the social psychologists are experts on group dynamics, negotiation and conflict. The Jepson School is unique in that it has a rich and varied faculty that bring their particular perspectives and interests to the study of leadership.

In my work with students, I have found that recent hot topics often focus on social justice issues, such as public education, immigration rights and gender rights. Students are also very interested in researching how various groups work together effectively and the role of followership in organizations. Many students regularly volunteer or engage in internships with NGOs or nonprofit organizations, so there is a keen interest in nonprofit leadership.

Has your relationship with the Jepson School influenced how you work within the library as both a leader yourself and with other leaders in the library?

Reading and exploring the literature of leadership has certainly piqued my interest in using some of their research results in my work and community life. I am also the liaison librarian for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), so the literature of women’s leadership has been very interesting to me. I have read widely in this area and reflected upon how I might adjust my leadership style as a female.  I’ve been particularly interested in reading about biases and stereotypes of women leaders.

I am involved in several leadership positions in the Richmond community, so the research of social justice/community leadership has also been very helpful to me.  I have relied on reference works, such as Political and Civic Leadership: A Handbook and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: A Reference Handbook, for many issues and situations. In addition, I not only learn about leadership studies from the faculty, students and readings that I encounter, but I also regularly attend lectures and programs at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies that feature outside speakers on various aspects of leadership.

Can you name one or two leadership resources in your library that are widely used, year after year?

The Encyclopedia of Leadership is used consistently, both in print and online.  I use this source to help students get started on their topics, to find definitions of theories and models, and to identify other sources in the bibliographies of the articles.  Students are always very excited to discover this source.  I just hope it will be updated in the future because it is now ten years old! I also regularly use the Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook with both WGSS students and Leadership Studies students.  Faculty often use this source for class readings as well.  Of course, I may have a bias with the Sage leadership handbook series.  I served as a consulting editor for the series and developed many of the ideas for the handbook topics.  It was an exciting and rewarding experience.

If you could meet any leader past or present, who would it be? Why?

I have a keen interest in government, politics and social justice issues.  Richmond’s proximity to Washington, D.C. has afforded me some wonderful opportunities to meet some of our nation’s leaders.  During the 1992 presidential election, the University of Richmond hosted the first “town hall” presidential debate and I was able to meet Bill and Hillary Clinton very briefly. Then in 2010, my across-the-street neighbor was chosen to host one of President Obama’s “backyard chats” and my husband and I were invited to be a part of that conversation. That encounter was probably one of the most exciting days of my life.  So I have been fortunate to meet some of the leaders that I would like to talk with!        

Beyond those mentioned above, I would like to meet and talk with Gloria Steinem.  As a college student who first encountered women’s history and women’s studies in the early 1970s, Gloria Steinem has always served as a role model and inspirational leader for me.  I’ve also read most of Steinem’s books and I have been an avid reader of Ms. Magazine for decades.

A big thank you to Lucretia for her time and insight. 

Want more? Check out a round-up of all our leaders and innovators here.