Library and Information Center Management (5th edition)

Steve Morgan (Deputy Head (Learning Resources Centre), University of Glamorgan)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




Morgan, S. (2000), "Library and Information Center Management (5th edition)", Library Review, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 139-156.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The first edition of this enduring textbook entitled Library Management appeared over 20 years ago. The basic format has remained much the same although clearly the content has changed radically. Over the years the four previous editions have broadened their scope and this is reflected in the current title. The statement in the Preface that the latest edition has become more international in scope is debatable given the overwhelmingly North American bias. This should not, however, detract from the fact that this remains an excellent textbook aimed at LIS teaching staff and students, practising librarians and other information managers. The authors also make the important point that the book is aimed at those being managed as well as those doing the managing. Stueart and Moran address established management theories and try to relate them to contemporary practice. In fact, they offer support to library managers who want to adopt proven principles from the non‐library world that they think will contribute to the successful operation of their organisations. The seven chapters deal with the complex and interrelated functions common to all organisations and their current and future managers. The authors emphasise that each chapter covers a particular function although in practice management is likely to involve simultaneous use of a range of different elements.

After the introductory chapter on the historical development of management theory each is devoted to a particular function: planning, organising, staffing, directing, control and, lastly, changing systems. Chapter 2 covers the techniques of planning and, in particular, strategic planning (including visions, missions and goals) and policymaking. Following on logically from strategic planning, Chapter 3 considers the best organisational structures with which to achieve institutional objectives. Topics covered include organisational culture, departmentalisation (and the seminal work of Mintzberg), hierarchical versus flatter structures, bureaucratic versus organic structures and organisation charts. The central and largest chapter (over 100 pages) is about staffing. Managing human resources – as it continues to call itself – has become a lot more complex in the last decade or so. The reasons for this include the speed and depth of technological development, moves to greater flexibility, higher expectations of employees, more team working, casualisation of the workforce, legislation etc. This complexity is reflected in this excellent chapter which stresses the key point that human resource issues, if they are to be addressed properly, take up enormous amounts of staff time. Recruitment and selection, staff development and training, performance appraisal and salaries and other benefits are all dealt with in some detail. “Getting things done through people” is one common definition of management. “Directing” which is the subject of Chapter 5 is the managerial function that enables this to happen. Some old friends are revisited here – the Hawthorne studies, McGregor’s Theories X and Y, Maslow and Herzberg, Likert and Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. The chapter revolves around motivation, leadership and communication with discussion of some modern methods towards the end. These include participative management, TQM and contingency management. The penultimate chapter considers the importance of control, viewed as a progressive element, with techniques being applied towards achieving success rather than a more negative view of stiffling initiative. Included here are performance measures and evaluation systems, developing techniques for allocating resources and budgetary control. “Changing Library and Information Systems” covers the management of change and how to make it work for you.

Like any good textbook this one is generous with its references and provides plenty of further readings at the end of each chapter. I would like to have seen more examples to illustrate the translation of theory into practice, perhaps in terms of case studies. These would help to break up the text which in parts borders on the over‐theoretical. Overall, good value for money.

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