This article emanates from the independent evaluation of a South African library leadership education programme, run by the Centre for African Library Leadership (CALL). The programme’s rationale lies in the drive to transform South African librarianship in the face of a range of challenges - some of them inherited from the apartheid past, others shared with libraries throughout the world. The Carnegie Corporation-sponsored programme aimed at developing leadership insights and qualities in current and potential future library managers. The article reports on the evaluative methodology, which comprised a questionnaire survey of all course alumni, interviews of CALL managers, and five sets of focus group interviews with course alumni and alumni of the followup Train-the-Trainer courses. The very positive results of the questionnaire survey are described and analysed, and key themes and comments emerging from several openended questions are discussed. Triangulation is provided by in-depth comments from the five focus groups, and in the process important themes are uncovered. The distinctive strengths of the programme were found to be its sensitivity to the South African context and its “inside-out” approach to leadership training. In most aspects the programme was found to be very successful, although there was uncertainty about its further continuance and the roles of the Train-the-Trainer alumni. The evaluation suggests that the CALL programme should serve as a model for transformative leadership education in South Africa and beyond. Recommendations include continuation of such projects to a wider set of libraries and their staff, with further use of the experiential approach to training, theory grounded in hands-on practice, and emphasis on self-development and self-awareness. However, the full potential of such programmes can only be realised if senior library management buys in to the values of the programme, and is engaged in implementation plans.