Alexis M Waide

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Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Management Resource Guide: Introduction

On the surface, the Management Resource Guide is a collection of materials I have put together as part of an assignment for LIS 2700 Managing Libraries & Information Systems & Services.  However, it goes deeper than that.  Ulimately, this guide will provide me with references on specific topics for my future as a library professional, whether I am involved in management or not.  The Guide includes journal articles from library and non-library management journals.  It also includes relevant policy or procedure pages from library websites, as well as other useful web resources.  The introductions for each section are brief and discuss which aspects of each topic I chose to focus on and why.  Most of the library policy/procedure pages and additional resources also have brief descriptions of what is to be found at those links and why I selected them for this guide.

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MRG: Assessment

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700. The ninth and final topic is assessment, particularly as it relates to staff and services.

My knowledge of library assessment comes from LIS 2850 The Library’s Role in Teaching & Learning, a class I took this summer thus it was limited specifically to assessment of library instruction.  The resources I’ve included in this section were helpful in showing other aspects of library assessment, including but also moving beyond library instruction.  Sadly, I couldn’t find a good book chapter about assessment so I’ve included a couple of citations for a book and a SPEC kit on assessment.

There was a wealth of library journal articles on assessment but the one I included I did because it was the most comprehensive.  The management journal article was a little more difficult to come by, since a lot of non-library assessment dealt with risk assessment or healthcare assessment and while I could extrapolate relevancy from some, it was kind of stretch.  I wound up selecting an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education but it was highlighted a lot of the goals of assessment within an institution of higher learning, and thus it was easy to apply the same ideas to libraries.  The library policies and procedures were by far the most helpful resources, since it was seeing assessment applied in libraries.

Book chapter
Matthews, J.R. (2007). Library assessment in higher education. Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Wright, S. & White, L.S. (2007). Library assessment. Washington, D.C. : Association of Research Libraries, Office of Leadership and Management Services.

Professional library journal article

Brown, J. (2002). Ramping up assessment at the UNLV Libraries. Library Hi Tech, 23(3), 396-413.

This article on how the University of Nevada Las Vegas Libraries scaled up their assessment was helpful for me because it covered many different types of assessment (in various departments) and also all the departments involved.  A couple of things stood out while reading this: assessment is a near continual ongoing process with no end in sight.  Ha, no, but it is a process that doesn’t always have a set ending.  Also, nearly all departments in a library must be involved in assessment for it to be truly effective.

Professional management journal article
Wagenaar, T. (2011). Why I Like Assessment. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(26).

Once again, an article from The Chronicle instead of true management journal.  However, it is another article that I found especially useful.  It gives reasons why assessment is important, at least in an higher educational setting.  Wagenaar says that through the assessment process, we learn how teaching strategies meet learning outcomes.  Obviously this is aimed at faculty but it’s easy for me to relate it to libraries whether academic, public, or special.  Wagenaar also addresses skepticism and cynicism on the part of faculty (librarians) as to the productivity and efficacy of assessment.  Library managers could look at this and easy translate it into their own dialect to counter any opposition to assessment of library programs and services.

Library policies, procedures, and sites

Other resources

MRG: Staff Development

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700. The eighth topic is staff development.

Staff development was a more difficult topic to find relevant journal articles, especially in the professional management journals, surprisingly, thus my library journal article focuses on staff development and my management journal article focuses on change management.  Interestingly enough, staff development and change management are my dad’s areas of expertise but it’s not something I know a lot about, at least not in an academic sense.  Through him I’ve gained a more intuitive sense of these subject areas but it was helpful to read some scholarly literature about it.

Book chapter
Gordon, R.S. (2005). Managing Change. The Accidental Library Manager. (pp.183-201). Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

Professional library journal article

Zauha, J. & Potter, G. (2009). Out west and down under: New geographies for staff development. Library Management, 30(8/9), 549-560.

This article was helpful because it looks at staff development strategies at two different university libraries of drastically different sizes in terms of collection, population served, and staff size.  The two universities are Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, and Montana State in Bozeman, MT.  Both libraries are dealing with different issues but here are some of the main points that emerged for me:

  • Evaluating key competencies so staff knows which skills are important and need to be updated periodically.
  • Creating a workforce plan aligned with the strategic plan.  In this case, it was Victoria University Library thus their plan was aligned with the University’s strategic plan but it included some initiatives relevant to all libraries such as structure, job titles and descriptions, recruitment, staff development, and cultural awareness.
  • Communication is absolutely, 100% critical.
  • Don’t segregate by departments, teams, or classified and faculty staff (or professional and paraprofessional staff in public libraries).  Everyone has something to learn, especially for multiple and/or diverging viewpoints.
  • Staff development plans and programs should always be guided by actual staff and organization needs.

Additional article:

Smith, S.D. & Galbraith, Q. (2011). Library Staff Development: How Book Clubs Can Be More Effective (and Less Expensive) than Traditional Trainings. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 18(2-3), 170-182. DOI: 10.1080/10691316.2011.577700

Professional management journal article

Jorgenson, H.H. (2009). Stop improvising change management! Strategy & Leadership, 37(2), 38-44.

This article presents a study of over 1500 organizations worldwide and how the handle change management.  The main takeaway for me is that change management works better when it happens in some kind of formalized way.  Consistency and structure seem to be the keywords for enacting successful change, and another important factor is having sponsorship from the management itself.  43% of projects with a professional change manager succeed while projects without one have 36% success rate.  A dedicated, professional change manager also will have greater success when using participatory leadership, i.e. empowering and delegating to subordinates within the organization will be more effective than the change manager making decisions on their own.

Library policies, procedures, and sites

  • Staff development plan workbook from the New Mexico State Library
  • Staff Development Committee from the University of Toronto Libraries.  Includes names and titles of staff involved, annual reports of the committee, and reports and summaries of different focus groups aiding in the planning process.
  • Staff Development and Engagement at the Albert S. Cook Library of Towson University.  Includes the highlights of the staff development plan and career/professional development.

Other resources

MRG: Staff Management

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700. The seventh topic is human resources and personnel.

The library journal article was probably one of the most helpful I read for this guide.  It had a lot of information with tips for managing personnel in a library setting and addressed some points about which I had questions.  Also, I’m a big fan of mnemonic devices and the LISTEN approach is definitely something that will prove useful in the future.  It would have been useful in previous job!  The professional management journal article was more difficult to find.  Again, this was a topic with a lot of theoretical approaches floating around in the management literature and it was hard to find something practical or that I could translate to library land.  The outside sources were interesting in giving a look at individual institutions’ approaches to personnel and human resource management.

Book chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). Managing People.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 359-404).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Professional library literature
Kieserman, R.H. (2008). Issues in library human resources management. The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, 21(3), 101-104.

As a professor of human resources and a library consultant for over 15 years, Kieserman argues employee relations are the most important element in libraries’ human resources programs.  This is a brief article but it makes a lot of good points and I found myself agreeing with his point about employee relations.  It was especially interesting to me that he said library directors have been complaining in recent years that library schools do not prepare graduates for management.  Kieserman makes the point that few library students actively want to go into management; they just sort of wind up there.  This ties back to our discussion of the first day of class when we were asked who wants to be a library manager and about, oh, three people raised their hands.

Anyway, Kieserman recommends a simple but effective approach for all library managers, experienced or in- to follow when handling employee relations: LISTEN (Learning, Involvement, Structure, Training, Empathy, Needs).  Good managers learn all they can about employees by getting know strengths and weaknesses, preferred working style, how they take direction, etc.  Good managers involve their employees in decision making to empower them.  Good managers provide structure by communicating expectations, directions and parameters.  They provide training and education on how the job should be done well.   They are empathetic and demonstrate genuine concern for employees, and in both their working and personal lives.  Lastly, good managers assess the various needs of each employee by allowing them to voice concerns.  The key thing I see in all of this is COMMUNICATION.

Professional management literature
Lawler, E.E. (2005). From human resource management to organizational effectiveness. Human Resource Management, 44(2), 165-169.

This article re-imagines human resources as business within itself to keep focus on how human resources can be a partner within an organization.  It also says that organizational effectiveness and human resources go hand in hand.

Library sites, policies, and procedures

Other resources

MRG: Technology Management and Licensing & Contracts

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700. The sixth topic is technology management as wells as licensing, contracts, and negotiation with electronic resource vendors.

Similar to grant writing, technology management is something that leaves me scratching my head occasionally.  I understand technology in general but the thought of being responsible for running a whole networked environment or negotiating a license agreement is a little intimidating.  This is where my resources beyond the journal articles really come in handy.  They have a lot of practical guidelines for managing technology, such as the technology plans from various libraries, toolkits for license negotiation, and creating technology policies for your library.

Book chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). Managing Technology.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 455-480).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Professional library journal article
Cervone, H.F. (2010). “Emerging technology, innovation, and the digital library.” OCLC Systems & Services, 26(4), 239-242.

This article is interesting to me because technology evolves so rapidly that how does one define “emerging” technology, much less implement it in ways that are simultaneously proactive and practical?  Cervone hits the nail on the head when he says “one must keep in mind that innovation for innovation’s sake is not usually a good thing. Innovation without demonstrable value being added to processes or services is not something that is typically valued by an organization’s leadership” (240).  He stresses that librarian managers need to recognize that technology that is new or emerging to us may be old hat in another context, thus we have to be careful with our terminology to maintain credibility.  Also stressed is the importance of keeping in sync with the library’s parent organization – if it is an institution that values innovation, clearly the library should strive to be on the cutting edge or risk being viewed as out of touch.  Conversely, if the parent organization is more traditional and is slow to change, innovation should be approached with more caution.

Professional management journal article
Badawy, A. (2009). Technology management simply defined: A tweet plus two characters. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 26(4), 219-224.

Gives a simple definition of technology management and discusses the various types of technology and how to manage them.  The biggest takeaway for me was the idea that technology management requires planning through laying out how an organization will deal with technology – which it will adopt, how it will adopt it, how it will benefit the users, etc.  Badawy’s definition (the tweet plus two characters) says that technology management is the “process of effective integration and utilization of innovation, strategic, operational, and commercial mission of an enterprise for gaining competitive advantage” (Badawy 224).  I think overall this is a great simple definition of technology management, even if many librarians might balk at the “competitive advantage” part.  True, libraries are not businesses trying to beat the competition in the traditional for-profit business model sense.  Yet, libraries increasingly find themselves in the business of competing with the internet for providing services that are traditionally in the library’s wheelhouse.  Proper and well-thought-out management of technology can give libraries that edge to compete with Google.

Library sites, policies, and procedures

Other resources

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