Cultivating Civility: Practical Ways to Improve a Dysfunctional Library—eEditions e-book

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Like other workplaces, libraries can sometimes be stressful, with library workers bearing the brunt of such problems as uncivil patrons, poor communication, inadequate leadership, and toxic behaviors by fellow employees. But there’s hope. Following up their acclaimed examination of the dysfunctional library ("should be essential reading for library leaders" raves Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association), here the authors present a book of proactive solutions and guidance culled from their own research, including interviews with library administrators and staff. Sharing valuable insights that will stimulate thought and discussion towards the goal of a healthier and more harmonious workplace, this book

  • addresses the subject from four viewpoints—individual, team, leader, and organization—focusing on solutions and practical steps in each area;
  • shows how self-reflection and self-awareness can be key starting points for exploring workplace issues;
  • offers numerous suggestions for wellness and self-care;  
  • provides tips for improving interpersonal communication and conversations in ways that prevent silos and span boundaries;
  • sheds light on forming and sustaining cohesive library teams, then provides solutions for misaligned teams and dissenters;
  • discusses why effectively conveying vision, role modeling, and demonstrating empathy are all crucial behaviors of library leaders;
  • shares actions library leaders can take to engage employees in the change process;
  • examines how organizational structures can either detract or contribute to a library’s success; and
  • details types of training that can be utilized to minimize dysfunction, including training for bias, empathy, conflict management, and diversity.

Filled with beneficial advice on every page, this resource will help libraries be better workplaces for everyone.


Part I: The Functional Individual

  • Chapter 1: Understand Yourself First
  • Chapter 2: Skills Development
  • Chapter 3: Productive Communication
  • Chapter 4: Navigate Conflict
  • Chapter 5: Wellness and Self-Care

Part II: The Functional Team

  • Chapter 6: Team Formation
  • Chapter 7: Promote Communication Flow
  • Chapter 8: Utilize All Communication Methods

Part III: The Functional Leader

  • Chapter 9: Self-Awareness: A Leader’s Perspective
  • Chapter 10: Skills Development
  • Chapter 11: Communication and the Work Environment
  • Chapter 12: Conflict Management
  • Chapter 13: Facilitate Collaboration
  • Chapter 14: Manage Resistance to Change

Part IV: The Functional Organization

  • Chapter 15: Assemble and Hire the Right Library Staff
  • Chapter 16: Provide Organizational Structure
  • Chapter 17: Develop a Trusting Work Environment
  • Chapter 18: Organizational Training

About the Authors

Jo Henry

Jo Henry is reference and instruction librarian at the Horry- Georgetown Technical College Library (Georgetown Campus), South Carolina. Previously she was a librarian at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the information services librarian at South Piedmont Community College. She obtained her MLIS from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia Southern University. She has coauthored four books: Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison (2014), The Personal Librarian: Enhancing the Student Experience (2014), The Mindful Librarian (2016), and The Dysfunctional Library: Challenges and Solutions to Workplace Relationships (2017). Henry has presented at numerous library conferences and has co-facilitated library workshops (alongside Richard Moniz and Joe Eshleman) both online and in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Joe Eshleman

Joe Eshleman is senior librarian at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was previously the instruction librarian at the Johnson & Wales University Library– Charlotte from 2008 to 2015 and was head librarian for two years at the JWU Providence library. He received his MLIS degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2007. He has completed the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Immersion Program, an intensive program of training and education for instruction librarians. Eshleman is a coauthor of Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison (2014), The Mindful Librarian (2016), and The Dysfunctional Library: Challenges and Solutions to Workplace Relationships (2017). He is also a coauthor of Librarians and Instructional Designers: Innovation and Collaboration (2016) and a contributor to The Personal Librarian: Enhancing the Student Experience (2014). He has presented at numerous conferences on instructional librarianship and other topics.

Richard Moniz

Dr. Richard Moniz is the director of library services at the Horry-Georgetown Technical College, which has campuses in Conway, Georgetown, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He previously served as the director of library services for Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami campus from 1997 to 2004 and was director of library services for Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte campus from 2004 to 2018. He is also an adjunct instructor for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s LIS program. In addition to publishing numerous articles, Moniz is the sole author of the textbook Practical and Effective Management of Libraries (2010) and the coauthor or coeditor of six other books: Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison (2014), The Personal Librarian: Enhancing the Student Experience (2014), The Mindful Librarian (2016), Librarians and Instructional Designers: Innovation and Collaboration (2016), The Dysfunctional Library: Challenges and Solutions to Workplace Relationships (2017), and Recipes for Mindfulness in Your Library (2019).

"A realistic and solution-oriented book that presents practicable ideas for improving workplace communication, streamlining administrative functions, and restoring workplace relationships ... As we collectively face the world’s challenges together—from climate change to COVID-19—the lessons Cultivating Civility sets out to teach seem all the more pressing. A book like this belongs in almost every library.”
— The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion

"There is a takeaway for every reader ... This is a great manual for the change processes within all libraries."
— Journal of Hospital Librarianship

"Could not be more timely ... This book can be used as a textbook, as a professional development tool, or as background to discuss issues in the library organization. This is a great resource for librarians, staff, and those studying to join the information profession."
— Choice