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Changing roles of middle managers in academic libraries

Amy Chang (Department of Access Services, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Kawanna Bright (Department of Information Services and Student Engagement, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 11 May 2012




The purpose of this paper is to: address how the library middle management role has changed; assist middle managers in identifying new opportunities and broadening their horizon within middle management; offer strategies for middle managers to be more efficient and effective in the changing era; and lay out the challenges middle managers are facing to further discussions.


Both authors have been middle managers for many years and are experiencing the change from the traditional roles. As the new roles are emerging, the authors have done literature reviews in order to understand what factors have caused the changes, how middle managers can deal with these changes, and identify the challenges they will face. Through research, the authors have also studied how business managers handle changes and identify areas from which library middle managers can gain insight.


The authors identify the causes of the changes that impact middle managers in academic libraries, through evaluation of day‐to‐day experiences and literature research.

Research limitations/implications

Since this is a new trend, the data are difficult to collect and the best practices are still under development in many academic libraries. Research implications are in the new roles for middle managers, including roles in communication channels, management teams, collaboration, and responsibilities.

Practical implications

The authors identify the new roles in middle management in a few areas: communication, management teams, collaboration, and responsibilities. The paper also outlines keys for being effective in middle management, including total quality management, staff readiness, and thinking outside of the box.


The paper addresses the cause of the changing roles for middle management and the specific impact that these changes are having on middle managers. This paper also identifies the new roles being undertaken by middle managers.



Chang, A. and Bright, K. (2012), "Changing roles of middle managers in academic libraries", Library Management, Vol. 33 No. 4/5, pp. 213-220.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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