Advances in Library Administration and Organization: Volume 23

Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)
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Introduction

Pages ix-xii
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The introduction to Volume 22 of this series is situated with reference to science, commonsense and the role each has or should have in the work we do as Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals. What we have this year is a series of papers that reports research results from work done mostly in public and academic libraries. It seems that the research done in one domain can have much to say about the other. This is not to say that there are no differences between these two types of libraries, nor is it to say that these differences cannot at times be significant. However, it seems clear that many of the institutional aspects and the challenges that they both face today transcend the boundaries that we usually think mark these two ‘type’ of institutions off from one another.

The study of the diffusion of innovations into libraries has become a cottage industry of sorts, as libraries have always provided a fascinating test-bed of nonprofit institutions attempting improvement through the use of new policies, practices, and assorted apparatus (Malinconico, 1997). For example, Paul Sturges (1996) has focused on the evolution of public library services over the course of 70 years across England, while Verna Pungitore (1995) presented the development of standardization of library planning policies in contemporary America. For the past several decades, however, the study of diffusion in libraries has tended to focus on the implementation of information technologies (e.g., Clayton, 1997; Tran, 2005; White, 2001) and their associated competencies (e.g., Marshall, 1990; Wildemuth, 1992), the improvements in performance associated with their use (e.g., Damanpour, 1985, 1988; Damanpour & Evan, 1984), and ways to manage resistance to technological changes within the library environment (e.g., Weiner, 2003).

The author's course of graduate study was designed to increase awareness of the distinctive characteristics of higher education. Constructing this intellectual bridge between theory and practice showed her that library administrators could obtain useful insights from research and experiences in the broader field of educational administration and leadership. For example, she crossed this bridge in the process of designing and implementing her institution's 2003 accreditation progress report on student learning. Such required self-studies are intended to drive an institution's critical self-reflection that is so important to quality assurance and internal change processes.

There have been many challenges and uncertainties in determining the future direction(s) for performance measurement (PM) in Florida public libraries over the years. Social pressures for establishing increased accountability and community needs combined with the library administrators need to respond to these pressures served as the catalysts for the need to evolve PM processes in Florida public libraries.

An international management movement known as New Public Management (NPM) emerged during the 1970s and 1980s. It relies on the normative use of economic market models, transaction cost theory, and public choice theories to deliver public services. While the manifestations of this new approach have taken many different avenues across the world, in the United States the primary manifestations have been found in the “Reinventing Government” movement (Gore, 1993), and the “Competitive Sourcing” plan of the Bush Administration (Office Management and Budget, 2002, 2003). A central component of NPM practices in the United States is the use of “outsourcing” of government service delivery to private or non-profit organizations.

Leadership development is a significant issue in public libraries and library administrators debate, among other topics, how to achieve it for the middle-level manager. At the present time, library organizations use leadership and management workshops, seminars, and institutes to assist with managers’ organizational learning processes. Current literature indicates that additional strategies such as career planning, mentoring, networking, acquiring adequate qualifications and experience, professional involvement, and continuing education are used not only to facilitate middle-level managers’ career development, but also to help organizations fill the leadership gaps within their ranks.

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There is currently a shortage of academic librarians in the United States. This shortage is affecting staffing levels at libraries and making it increasingly difficult to fill positions. Pollock (2002) reported that libraries across the nation are facing the same dilemma, “how to fill the growing number of vacancies in the ranks of professional librarians” (p. 94). There are several explanations for this trend. There is a phenomenon known as the graying of the profession. A large number of academic librarians are nearing retirement age and new librarians will be needed to replace them. Crosby (2001) stated that “many experienced librarians are expected to retire, switch occupations, or leave the occupation permanently for other reasons. This will create about 39,000 job openings for new librarians between 1998 and 2008” (p. 9). Wilder (2000) reported, “In demographic terms, librarianship in North America is a profession apart. Librarians are, as a group, substantially older than those in comparable professions, and they are aging at a much faster rate” (para. 1). Lynch (2002) reported that over 20% of the librarians currently employed in the United States will reach age 65 by 2014.

During the 2001 Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference, members were asked what they thought were the most pressing issues for academic libraries. As a result, the Focus on the Future Task Force was created and charged to study these concerns. One of the top seven issues was the recruitment, education, and retention of librarians (Hisle, 2002). Retaining librarians by preventing turnover has become one of the leading issues in academic libraries.

Scholarly communication in the U.S. has been closely examined in the past two decades by librarians because of the acceleration in costs of serial, scholarly communication. Specific disciplines of research have increased at unprecedented rates, namely the areas of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publishing.

This paper presents the major findings of recently completed research in the UK concerning the attributes of information as an asset and its impact on organisational performance. The research study employed an automated information asset- and attribute-scoring grid exercise and semi-structured open-ended interviews with 45 senior UK managers in four case study organisations. The information asset-scoring grid was developed to provide a simple visual representation of information assets and attributes using Excel charts. The semi-structured open-ended interviews aimed to identify the attributes of information assets considered significant by 45 senior UK managers and to explore relevant issues such as the value of information and organisational effectiveness.

About the Authors

Pages 415-417
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Michael Carpenter is an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Louisiana State University. He holds a Ph.D. in librarianship from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Dr. Carpenter worked at the Library of Congress and was the chief financial officer for an industrial building contractor in Los Angeles.

Author Index

Pages 419-427
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Subject Index

Pages 429-430
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DOI
10.1016/S0732-0671(2006)23
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Library Administration and Organization
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-0-76231-297-9
eISBN
978-1-84950-403-4
Book series ISSN
0732-0671