Archive for February, 2008

Recommended Reading..

Currently reading
Beyond Survival: Managing Academic Libraries in Transition






A very interesting read– especially about how both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Arizona Library systems sought to implement transformative change throughout their organizations. Both case studies reveal how easily library culture can degrade into organizational stagnation and turf protection– where the means to an end becomes an end unto itself (as in the University of Pitt’s case, where cataloging became an obstacle to customer service). Here are a few review snippets listed on Amazon:

..They devote the first three chapters to background details on the need for change, along with an overview of managing change, including strategic planning, organizational development, marketing, and team-based organizations.
Library Journal

[W]e need to fully embrace change, and adapt successful business models like strategic planning and organizational development in order to turn change into an opportunity. In addition to theory, authors Elizabeth J. Wood, Rush Miller and Amy Knapp provide detailed case studies on how libraries… managed the kind of transformative change needed to position the academic library for a “vibrant future.”
American Libraries

Three library science scholars with business experience from U. of Michigan and U. of Pittsburgh borrow techniques from the business world to offer advice to managers of academic libraries undergoing changes compelled by both internal and external factors. Supported by case studies of two university libraries, chapters discuss the reasons for change, short term vs. long term solutions, the theoretical underpinnings of change, strategies for embedding and perpetuating alterations, the pros and cons of using teams, how to stand up to scrutiny and plan for the future, and barriers to change, among other topics.
Reference & Research Book News

If only this book was generally considered required reading in the field! And I didn’t even have to purchase the book (used the library of course).
John Potter

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Academic librarians are happy librarians

I try to stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry by perusing the trade journals, but, like many of my colleagues, I’m sure your daily duties keep you from reading it all. It isn’t until someone physically places something on my desk or, better yet, emails me a link to an interesting article that I actually get around to reading some trade news. This week a coworker emailed me the Library Journal’s (LJ) Academic Newswire for January 31st. It contained LJ’s survey results for academic librarians’ job satisfaction.

My career has taken interesting twists and turns along the way working in large public libraries, small academic libraries, one of the world’s largest corporate libraries, and even in publishing. I do believe after several years of testing the waters I was meant to be in academic libraries. Nothing is more fulfilling to see than students’ light bulbs flicker on when they’ve grasped the concept of this database over that one, they’ve finalized their final research project, or the collective gratitude of a class following a very productive, interactive bibliographic instruction.

I am but one academic librarian. I did not participate in LJ’s survey, but 93.4% of the 1,209 respondents agreed that they were very satisfied, satisfied, or somewhat satisfied with their jobs as academic librarians. I can’t help but think that happy academic librarians make for happy students.

-dana pawloski