Fundamentals of Library Supervision, Third Edition

ALA Member
Item Number
ALA Editions
AP Categories

Primary tabs

You don't need to be an ALA Member to purchase from the ALA Store, but you'll be asked to create an online account/profile during the checkout to proceed. This Web Account is for both Members and non-Members. 

If you are Tax-Exempt, please verify that your account is currently set up as exempt before placing your order, as our new fulfillment center will need current documentation. Learn how to verify here.

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

This book is available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor or contact us for more information. Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

You're about to become a library supervisor! In addition to excitement you may also feel some uncertainty. Mentor, creator, monitor, and negotiator are some of the roles a supervisor must play, and wearing that many hats is a challenge that requires discipline and organization (and a healthy sense of humor). This newly updated and revised edition of a classic text will give you the grounding to supervise, manage, and lead with confidence. A perfect handbook for those just moving into a supervisory position, and a welcome refresher for current managers, this resource focuses on daily, real-world issues, offering

  • discussion of how to foster a positive work environment by determining the character of your organization;
  • dozens of sample interview questions suitable for different contexts, and other pointers on the hiring process;
  • advice on supervising all different kinds of employees, from those with "structural" personalities to creative types;
  • tactics for leading productive and focused staff meetings;
  • guidance on how to develop shared accountability, overcoming the decision dilemma so common in group settings, and other strategies for building successful teams;
  • easy to follow tips for making email a genuine productivity tool;
  • methods for meeting deadlines through backward planning;
  • 11 steps for developing a clear and balanced performance appraisal;
  • techniques for actively addressing complaints; and
  • examples of non-monetary staff rewards such as flexible scheduling, job enrichment, and celebrations.

Guiding supervisors through the intricate process of managing others, this to-the-point handbook addresses the fundamental issues facing those taking on this position.

List of Figures

Part I    Supervising Individuals

  • Chapter 1    Today’s Workplace
  • Chapter 2    Hiring and Interviewing
  • Chapter 3    Orientation and Training
  • Chapter 4    Managing Performance
  • Chapter 5    Managing Rewards

Part II    Managing Groups

  • Chapter 6    Becoming a Manager
  • Chapter 7    Teamwork and Group Dynamics
  • Chapter 8    Planning and Organizing Work
  • Chapter 9    Budgeting Basics
  • Chapter 10    Facilities, Space, and Safety, by Debra J. Pearson
  • Chapter 11    Managing Meetings
  • Chapter 12    Project Management

Part III    Leading in Organizations

  • Chapter 13    Communication Skills
  • Chapter 14    Organizational Climate and the Art of Motivation
  • Chapter 15    Inclusiveness and Diversity
  • Chapter 16    Policies and the Legal Environment
  • Chapter 17    Career Management


Beth McNeil

Beth McNeil is professor and dean of the library at Iowa State University. Prior to joining Iowa State in 2015, she served in associate dean roles at Purdue University and at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She received a PhD in human sciences with a leadership focus from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and an MS degree in library and information science and an AB degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her publications include Patron Behavior in Libraries (1996) and Human Resource Management in Today’s Academic Library (2004).

"It has a practical, common-sense approach, but often digs into areas or examples even a practiced supervisor may not have considered. This book is particularly helpful for anyone managing other librarians, paraprofessionals, or volunteers in a library setting,"
— Journal of Hospital Librarianship

"Clear and concise, this classic text is recommended for new and seasoned library managers."
— Library Journal

”A 'must-read' for anyone working their way toward a managerial career in library science, and an excellent 'refresher course' for professionals in the field."
— Library Bookwatch