The New OPL Sourcebook: A Guide for Solo and Small Libraries

Andrew Carlin (St Columb's College, Derry City, UK)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




Carlin, A. (2008), "The New OPL Sourcebook: A Guide for Solo and Small Libraries", Collection Building, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 90-90.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This new edition exhibits one of the core competencies of librarianship: sharing best practice. This is achieved consistently, in a no‐nonsense, apothegmatic manner. Targeted towards one‐person libraries (OPL), it contains practical tips and strategies for survival that all librarians will find useful.

Having canvassed OPLs for what they would have appreciated at library school, Siess structures the book around providing helpful advice about management, budgeting, time management, corporate culture, customer service, assertiveness and marketing. It includes a pragmatic section on downsizing and money‐saving tips.

Siess addresses thorny issues that are vital to the success of the library, such as having policies, mission statements and annual reports; ensuring you receive the credit for your work (thereby promoting the library); line management and communication with senior management; knowing your organisation's culture.

Siess has an engaging, aphoristic writing style: pithy, with substance. Sandwiched between hilarious time‐saving filing tips (“toss it”) are strongly worded pieces of advice on planning: “If you don't value your time, no one else will”; “You can [leave to attend training or conferences]; you are not indispensable. The organization can do without you; your career or family cannot”.

Part 2, edited by John Welford, will be of particular interest to those with collection development responsibilities. This is an annotated list of resources – most, but not all online – organized into subject categories. Siess does not claim this to be exhaustive but, at 226 pages, it is quite comprehensive. Included are practical resources for librarians on vendors, library schools, professional associations, employment agencies, and electronic lists. This fits with an overall theme of the book, not just to seek to provide excellent services for library users, but for members of the profession.

In order to address a lack of preparation for work as an OPL, this book is the ideal companion. It is recommended for all those establishing a library or upgrading their information service, and those wishing to improve their personal effectiveness.

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