Alexis M Waide

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Archive for the category “Library school”

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: 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

MRG: Facilities & Disaster Planning

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700.  The fifth topic is facilities management and disaster planning.

I have some knowledge about facilities management in general since I’ve worked previously for a campus facilities management unit and I was also the go-to person for facilities management issues in my previous job as middle manager in a bookstore.  My resources focus more on disaster and emergency planning since those issues are a gap in my knowledge.  The library journal article I found is extremely helpful in covering the process of writing a disaster plan. The management article focuses more on actual physical space planning in a university or college, and I found it relevant since I’d like to work in an academic library.  My other resources are a mix of facilities management and disaster planning.

Book chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). Managing and Planning Physical Facilities for Information Services.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 481-502).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Professional library journal article
Fleischer, S.V. & Heppner, M.J. (2009). Disaster Planning for Libraries and Archives: What You Need to Know and How to Do It. Library & Archival Security, 22(2), 125-140.  DOI: 10.1080/01960070902904167.

This is an extensive and informative article that comes from the authors’ first-hand experience with creating a disaster plan and it shows: the information provided and the advice they give is detailed  but explained in easy-to-understand language.  Gives step-by-step instructions for writing the plan, from initiation with a proposal in which the benefits of having a plan are explained, to making sure to have staff members from every department represented on a Disaster Plan Team.  They break the process of writing a plan into three phases: information gathering, creating and implementing the plan, and training staff and maintaining the plan.  They include a lot of helpful questions to ask during the information gathering phase and while they may not be comprehensive, there’s a lot there to stimulate brainstorming on a Disaster Plan Team.

Professional management journal article
Rudden, M.S. (2010). Five recession-driven strategies for planning and managing campus facilities: facing significant fiscal challenges, colleges and universities are pursuing creative and innovative facilities planning and management strategies.  Planning for Higher Education, 39(1), 5-17.

Covers ways of cutting costs with the management and planning for facilities at academic institutions.  Ideas included are defer any capital projects such as construction; maximize use of existing facilities in various ways including offering more evening and weekend classes; increase blended learning courses; increase sustainability; and adapt and incorporate emerging technologies.

Library sites, policies, and procedures

Other resources

  • Space Planning resources from OCLC WebJunction, includes slideshows, policy pages, and more
  • Prepare and Respond, an OCLC WebJunction webinar and resources on partnering with local emergency management
  • Disaster and Planning for Libraries: Maine State Library, resources and guidelines
  • A bibliography of sorts from WebJunction again, though the authorship is unclear.  Includes recommended books, articles, presentations, OSHA resources for libraries, links to libraries’ facilities plans, capital projects, green design, user-centered design and more!
  • Green Libraries LibGuide from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, includes various case studies and resources for libraries “going green”

We’re number 1!

Forbes says we’re number 1!: The Best and Worst Master’s Degrees for Jobs

Oh, wait, we’re number 1 but it’s not good – Library and Information Science is named the number 1 worst degree in the Forbes article, based on mid-career median income ($57,600) and projected employment increase for common jobs in the field (8.5%).

I know this has been making the rounds since it came out a week ago and a lot of people I know have expressed dismay and outrage.  Several of my program-mates have said, speaking for themselves as well as librarians they know and fellow MLIS students, that they went into the program because they love libraries and happiness in a career doesn’t rest solely on income.  I agree completely with these statements and the indignant feelings from which they stem, i.e. how dare Forbes suggest money is the only thing that makes a degree valuable!

However, that projected employment increase is disheartening, not only for the general picture it paints for all information professionals in the field but also the outlook for new ones just entering it.  8.5% employment increase for common jobs?  It does not bode well for me and my peers who have just graduated or are graduating soon, or for the thousands of people entering programs in the fall.  Yes, it seems the majority of people go into MLIS/MLS programs because they genuinely want to do it and believe working in the field will provide them with professional happiness.  I know no one in my program who entered thinking, “I’m gonna make millions as a librarian!”  But we did all enter thinking, “This degree will help me get a professional position.”  That thought and that 8.5% don’t really mesh well.  It’s hard to be happy in a job I don’t have.

MRG: Budgets & Fiscal Management

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700.  The fourth topic is budgets and fiscal management.

This topic came right after I had finished the four-week, one-credit course on Fiscal Management so I felt pretty comfortable with most of the budgeting concepts.  I was still interested in reading about what libraries have been doing in the face of budget cuts, hence the library journal article I chose.  This was another topic where I had a hard time finding a good management journal article.  A lot of it kind of came down to theory or even individual case studies and a lot of what I read was not easily translatable to a library setting.  However, I was able to find a solid collection of web resources to build a toolkit for budgeting.

Book chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). Managing Money.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 405-454).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Professional library journal article
Kaser, D. (2011). “On Average: How Your Library Budget Stacks Up (PDF).” Computers in Libraries, 31(2), 33-35.

This article is helpful in showing where, exactly, all the money goes for various library types.  The results came from a survey of over 1200 public, special, and academic libraries in the U.S.  While it doesn’t provide many tips for how to write a budget, it is helpful to see what libraries are doing in the face of budget cuts and what they found to be important to their patrons.

Curzon, S.C. (2009). Survivor: the library edition: director-to-director guidance on how to cope with more budget shortfalls. Library Journal, 134(6), 22-24.

Curzon gives tips for surviving budget cuts.  Some of them seem common sense but she presents the ideas in ways I hadn’t thought of before.

Professional management journal article
Howell, R.A. (2004). Turn Your Budgeting Process Upside Down.  Harvard Business Review, 82(7-8), 21-22.

This article takes a different approach to the traditional budgeting process by approaching it from a different angle.  The author urges managers to think more expansively with budgets, similar to the strategic planning process, instead of the more short-sighted view of the fiscal year.  This article is a helpful reminder that budgets should not be viewed as static obstacles but as a positive growth process.

Library sites

  • Denver Public Library Budget Resources:  The Denver Public Library has detailed information about their budget including information about the library districts, statistics for library use, and the budget presentation for 2011.  It’s great to be able to look at the whole process.
  • CMLibrary: Library Budget Information:  Information on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library of Charlotte, NC, specifically on their funding.

Other resources

  • AE 13: Developing the Library Budget: Helpful page from the Wisconsin Department of Education.  Discusses the process, sources of funding including grants and donations, definitions of terms, and a sample budget.
  • Budget Resources and Tips: From the South Central Library System of Wisconsin.  A general how-to of library budgeting.
  • Budgeting Lingo A to Z: Definitions for basic budgeting terms.  Extremely helpful.  Used in my Fiscal Management class.
  • Budgeting & Finance: The ALA’s page on budgeting, great resources including items on ROI, advocating on a budget, and fundraising.

MRG: Grant Proposals

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700.  The second topic for the course is Grant Proposals and Grant Writing.

Grant writing is something I’ve never done (until this class) and it has always seemed like a really daunting task.  I also thought one has to be a professional writer, more or less, to be able to write solid proposals that will actually earn funds.  The articles I found reflect these perceptions to some extent.  The library journal article helped allay a lot of my fears and the management article, though not from a management journal,  helped me laugh and relax about it by showing what not to do.  I don’t have as many library sites on their policies or procedures about grant-writing.  More often library sites had how-to pages on grant writing and I’m guessing information about institution-specific procedures is kept internal.  However, the other resources section has a lot of helpful resources for the grant-writing process.

Book chapter
Gordon, R.S. (2005). Managing Money. The Accidental Library Manager. (pp.218-219). Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

Professional library journal article
Gerding, S. (2006). Writing Successful Library Grant Proposals. Public Libraries, 45(5), 31-33.

This article is written for the hesitant grant writer who is intimidated by the process.  I include myself in this group.  Gerding has a practical approach to an organized process for grant writing but it’s her encouraging tone that seemed really helpful to me – i.e. this is not a dissertation and you do not have to be the world’s most eloquent writer, remember that your reviewers are like you and trying to budget accordingly, most grant applications are similar or at least have parts in common.  One of the most helpful tips I came across in the article is that if really struggling with the process, ask the grant funders for successful grant proposals to look at as an example.  If they refuse, one can always turn to other libraries nearby that have had success with grant proposals.

Professional management journal article
Braun, B. et. al. (2010).  How to Fail in Grant Writing. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(16).

Okay, while technically not a professional management journal, I thought this article was too good not to include in my guide.  It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at all the things one can do to make sure a grant proposal fails utterly.  Though written by biologists, it’s aimed at a broader higher education audience and includes content-related tips like “Don’t explicitly state any goals, objectives, or hypotheses in your grant proposal” and “Make it obvious that you have cut and pasted sections from your other grants into this new proposal”; tips on style and format like “A single multipage paragraph is fine. Reviewers love 10-point, Arial-font, single-spaced type” and “Replace simple, meaningful words with polysyllabic behemoths… Don’t write ‘use’ when you can say ‘utilize’.”  Obviously the point of this advice to is to demonstrate what one absolutely shouldn’t do when grant writing.  I found it hilarious as well as helpful.

Library policies, procedures, and sites

  • Sample applications from the IMLS, sample grants from a variety of places including libraries. (Including Columbus Metropolitan!)

Other resources

  • Library Grants: Library Grants blog talks mostly about different types of grants, with posts focusing on a grantmaker and the requirements/qualifications for the grant.
  • Proposal Short Writing Course: The Foundation Center has a short tutorial on grant writing, as well as a host of other resources.
  • Library Fund Raising: A Selected Annotated Bibliography: A general annotated bibliography of library fund raising resources, put together by the ALA.  Includes a large section on grants and grantwriting.
  • Grant Proposal Writing: LibGuide on grant writing from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, has lists of books and websites.

MRG: Strategic Planning

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700.  The second topic for the course is Strategic Planning.

Prior to this class session and these readings, I knew what a strategic plan was but didn’t know much about putting one together or why libraries might choose to engage in strategic planning.  The two articles I found from library and management journals were great in making both of those points clearer to me.  The library journal article was great since it came from the perspective of former fundraising consultant who once did not see the value in strategic plans and he brought both sides of the argument to light.  The management journal article was helpful since it broke down in really simple language the basics of strategic planning.  The majority of the other resources I found are examples of actual strategic plans from libraries and archives.

Book Chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). The Planning Process.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 145-165).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Matthews, J. (2005). Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers.  Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Professional library journal article
Price, L. (2010). On the Vital Importance of Strategic Planning. Public Libraries, 49(2), 25-7.

This article takes a different tack with strategic planning.  The author was formerly a fundraising consultant who naysayed strategic planning and while he has since changed his tune, he points out reasons libraries may not see the value in strategic planning, which I found interesting.  It’s always good to have a devil’s advocate around to strengthen your own argument.  Price makes the point that it’s easy to manipulate a plan to meet a predetermined set of objectives, which honestly, before reading this article, that’s kind of what I thought planning was about.  Isn’t a strategic plan meant to outline the objectives.  But, ideally, to create the plan the library should conduct research and try to remain as neutral as possible and then develop the objectives.  Another issue I hadn’t thought of was that typically, it’s the management writing the plan but it’s the front-line staff expected to implement the plan, at least the bulk of it, which can be problematic if they’re not fully invested.  Thus, it’s important to include all staff in plan development.

Professional management journal article
Brockmann, E.N. & Lacho, K.J. (2010). Strategic Planning: A Practical Primer for the Entrepreneur. The Entrepreneurial Executive, 15, 25-32.

Though this article is a primer for entrepreneurs and was published in a entrepreneurial journal, I found it extremely useful in that it very clearly outlines the basics of beginning a strategic plan.  The language used is simple and easy to understand.  There is one example used consistently throughout the article to show how a restaurant might go through the planning process, and while it’s not library-specific, it’s easy to draw comparisons and adapt the instructions to a library or archival setting.  I feel that it takes a lot of the fear out of strategic planning, not only by assuring that it’s not as daunting a task as it may seem, but highlighting the important steps and asking questions to help guide the process.

Library policies, procedures, and sites

Here are some links to library websites that deal with strategic planning:

Other resources

MRG: Environmental/Community Scan

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700: Managing Libraries & Information Systems & Services.  The first topic is Environmental Scans and/or Community Relations.

We discussed environmental and community scans in LIS 2830 Marketing & Public Relations for Libraries, so I feel like I already had a fairly good grasp on the concept.  Since I already had an understanding of many of the methods used in environmental scans, the articles I focused more on a “how-to” approach of conducting environmental scans instead of on “what is”, and featured some more interesting ways to go about gathering needed information from the community.  The article from the UK with the toolkit and the two blogs I found were both very helpful, since they gave practical advice on conducting scans.  “Musings about librarianship” in particular was great since he talked about using social media to conduct informal scans.   Finding an article from a management journal was more difficult than the library journal, since non-library management articles seemed to focus on healthcare scans, and it was sometimes hard to find relevant information in these articles.

Book chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). The Operating Environment.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 39-52).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Professional library journal article
Goulding, A. (2009). Engaging with community engagement: public libraries and citizen involvement. New Library World, 110 (1/2), 37 – 51.

This article discusses the evolving role of libraries as community resources, with a focus on the UK.  The article focuses on a toolkit created by a consulting firm that gives libraries guidelines and resources on how best to involve their communities in “service delivery and development” (Goulding, p. 40).  From the interviews of the stakeholders, the conclusion was reached that in the past, public libraries have been too user-focused, which may seem contradictory, but the keyword here is “users” which implies people who are using the library already, which I thought was interesting.  Most of the stakeholders recognized that to make the public library more of a community place, they need to court the people not using the library and do this by allowing for natural community practices to occur in the library.  Partnerships with the volunteer and community sector would allow for this.

Professional management journal article
Mafrica, L. (2003). From Scan to plan: how to apply environmental scanning to your association’s strategic planning process. Association Management, 55(1), 42-48.

Though this article deals with conducting an environmental scan in a professional association (in this case the Oncology Nursing Society), I found it helpful because it discusses not only how the organization conducted their scan but also how they translated their findings into their strategic plan.  It discusses methods used in the scan process, who was involved in the scanning, and how the information was translated from implications into actions.

Library policies, procedures, and site

Other resources

WPWVC ACRL poster session

I’m going to my first academic library conference and attending as a presenter, no less!  Well, I’m doing a poster session with my supervisor and another Pitt librarian.  The poster session is their baby (it’s on the ULS’ virtual reference Knowledge Base) but I’m excited and honored they’ve invited me to work with them on it.  After a number of brainstorming sessions over the past two weeks, I finished designing the poster and we got it printed today.  The WPWVC ACRL (Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries) spring conference is June 1 in Waynesburg, PA.  Wish me luck!

Edible Book Festival!

I’m getting really excited for the SCALA – Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh partnership for our celebration of the International Edible Book Festival!  It will be a celebration of food and books at CLP LYNCS in the Pittsburgh Public Market.  I’m on the planning committee and we came up with some great ideas for a raffle and prizes for the raffle and the best “creation.”  Here’s the awesome poster we came up with to advertise: EdibleBooksposter

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