Practical and Effective Management of Libraries: Integrating Case Studies, General Management Theory and Self‐Understanding

Arthur Winzenried (Information Studies (Teacher Librarianship), Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

260

Keywords

Citation

Winzenried, A. (2011), "Practical and Effective Management of Libraries: Integrating Case Studies, General Management Theory and Self‐Understanding", Library Review, Vol. 60 No. 7, pp. 631-632. https://doi.org/10.1108/00242531111153669

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Made fairly clear in the title, this is a work of considerable interest covering a wide range of management issues. Managing libraries in the current (and future) context of digital resources is highly challenging. Library automation revolutionized libraries 40 years or more ago. The world of the internet offered a whole new set of challenges and now the growing tendency towards non‐print material is again challenging library and information managers worldwide. Johnson (2010) suggests it might become even more so as the non‐text content increases. Again, this is shaping up to really question many existing concepts and styles of management. One thing that seems certain is that things will not be the same. It is a case of “all change please”, and managers need to be prepared.

Commencing with an overview of recent management theorists from F.W. Taylor through to Robert Greenleaf, the author moves from the theoretical into the practical. Rather than take the more general pathway directly to motivating, organizing, communicating, etc. Practical and Effective Management looks first (in Chapter 2) at the area of self‐management. This is perhaps something of a master stroke and certainly places enormous importance on the character of the managers themselves as a critical aspect of successful management.

While Chapters 3 and 4 follow some of the direction of the more theoretical Chapter 1, they also introduce more expected and practical aspects of management in terms for motivational skills and organizational structure. Further chapters deal with communication and decision making. There remains throughout a very strong emphasis on the manager as a person rather than as part of a system. Communication, for example, deals with both traditional methods as well as those of the digital era including blogs and wikis.

Set out in short very accessible chapters, this work is decidedly practical. It discusses ideas, offers case studies to make the points more clearly and ends each chapter with some exercises to try in your own library. The format suits many busy librarians who might want to improve their management understandings or learn how others might deal with a particular situation. Its format is not unlike the work on information literacy by Welsh and Wright (2010).

One aspect that could receive more attention is that of client needs. This work, while it deals with many aspects of management does so very much from a manager's point of view. It is an organizational management rather than a service management that takes up most of the author's time.

A further aspect of management that is generally considered vital is missing from this work and that is the one of “moral purpose”. While a growing number of management writers see a moral dimension as an essential aspect (Fullan, 2001a, b; Winzenried, 2010), Moniz tends to suggest that it is personal self‐worth that drives effective management rather than a less personal moral direction.

A single book cannot hope to cover all the different and important points of managing the modern library. This work does rather well dealing with a large number of them. Recommended.

References

Fullan, M. (2001a), Change Forces, The Sequel, Falmer Press, London.

Fullan, M. (2001b), Leading in a Culture of Change, Jossey‐Bass, San Francisco, CA.

Johnson, D. (2010), “Miles library – annotated”, in Winzenried, A. (Ed.), Visionary Leaders for Information, CIS, Wagga Wagga, pp. 98114.

Welsh, T. and Wright, M. (2010), Information Literacy in the Digital Age: An Evidence‐Based Approach, Chandos, Cambridge, MA.

Winzenried, A. (2010), Visionary Leaders for Information, CIS, Wagga Wagga.

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