A Starter's Guide for Academic Library Leaders: Advice in Conversation—eEditions PDF e-book

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

Listen to a podcast with the authors now!

The path towards leadership starts with you. But you don’t have to go it alone. For this book, the authors sat down with many of the library leaders they most admire for a series of conversations about the aspects of the job that they find the most fascinating (and challenging). Much like the chats you might have over coffee at a conference or with a mentor, these frank discussions will nourish you with nuts-and-bolts wisdom on a diverse range of academic library management issues. Among the topics and situations broached are

  • balancing personal values against the common refrain “you don’t get to be who you want to be in positions like ours”;
  • five questions to ask that reveal much about organizational culture and climate;
  • creating a culture of change, including why a newly promoted director chose to make the most drastic changes in the first 100 days;
  • forming a “dean team” to help frame responses with consideration to institutional culture;
  • the value of demystifying the budget for the entire library staff;
  • using tools such as a personal “learning journal” to fuel professional development;
  • cultivating a personal network by setting up meetings at local libraries during conferences;
  • the risks that result from jumping into a situation too fast and boxing yourself into a corner;
  • lessons learned from failed initiatives;
  • examples of navigating controversies, such as a director’s response to a WPA mural with a racist message; and
  • managing facilities, with an example of how injecting a previously ignored library voice into a building project led to a tripling of the space.

Between these covers you’ll find guidance, ideas, and inspiration as you continue your leadership journey.

Foreword, by Jon Cawthorne
Introduction, by Amanda Clay Powers, Martin Garnar, and Dustin Fife

Chapter 1    
Making the Leap, by Amanda Clay Powers and Elaine Westbrooks

Chapter 2    
Building Effective Teams, by Martin Garnar and Lorelei Tanji

Chapter 3    
Learning to Lead and Manage, by Dustin Fife and Amy Kelly

Chapter 4    
Maintaining Personal Values, by Amanda Clay Powers and Faye A. Chadwell

Chapter 5    
Institutional Advocacy, by Dustin Fife and Annie Bélanger

Chapter 6    
Recruiting and Retention: Building a Diverse Team, by Amanda Clay Powers, Martin Garnar, and Dustin Fife

Chapter 7
Making Hard Decisions, Having Difficult Conversations, and Setting Expectations, by Dustin Fife and Lesli Baker

Chapter 8    
Managing Mistakes and Building on Failure, by Martin Garnar and Melissa De Santis

Chapter 9    
Creating a Culture of Change, by Martin Garnar and Trevor A. Dawes

Chapter 10    
Professional Development, by Dustin Fife and Alexia Hudson-Ward

Chapter 11    
Building, Renovations, and Facilities, by Amanda Clay Powers and Krisellen Maloney

Chapter 12    
Crisis Management, by Martin Garnar and Adriene Lim

Chapter 13    
Finding Your Role in the University, by Dustin Fife and Carol Smith

Chapter 14    
Fundraising and Development, by Amanda Clay Powers and Yolanda Cooper

Chapter 15    
Developing and Managing Budgets, by Martin Garnar and Maggie Farrell

About the Authors and Contributors

Amanda Clay Powers

Amanda Clay Powers is Professor and Dean of Library Services at Mississippi University for Women (MUW). Prior to joining MUW, she spent eleven years at Mississippi State University as a reference librarian and then as head of Research Services. After graduating with a BA from Wellesley College and an MLIS from Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science, she cut her “librarian teeth” working as a processing assistant at MIT’s Dewey Library. Her current research focuses on academic library leadership and applications of social media in academia.

Martin Garnar

Martin Garnar is the director of the Amherst College Library. He has taught professional ethics, library instruction, and the foundations of library and information science for the University of Denver’s LIS program. He has served as chair of the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and the Committee on Professional Ethics and as president of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Dustin Fife

Dustin Fife is Director of Library Services at Western Colorado University. Prior to coming to Western, Dustin was Outreach Librarian at Utah Valley University. He also spent six years as Public Library Director for San Juan County, Utah. Dustin has served as President of the Learning Round Table of the American Library Association and President of the Utah Library Association. In 2016, Dustin was recognized as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker. He is currently working on an EdD at the University of Colorado Denver that focuses on access and equity in education.

"Our profession often mentions that we need to do more storytelling, more instances of actual impact on the lives of ourselves and others that we touch in our day-to-day operations and services. This book is full of stories: stories about failure, stories about growth, stories about successes, stories about change and adaptation. ... I enjoyed reading the many stories which my colleagues and mentors have shared in this volume, and think that many other current and future academic library leaders will feel the same way."
— Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship

"Given the many very personal stories and lessons learned (often the hard way) related here, this volume offers material for all leaders to consider, even those who have many years’ experience ... Anyone with a desire to continue to grow will benefit from this book, which is recommended to all academic libraries."
— Catholic Library World

"Powers, Garnar and Fife are themselves library directors and weave in their own observations and lessons learned into the chapters using an informal yet clear and concise interview format ... Centered on personal and organizational leadership themes this book would be well suited for professionals of any field."
— Technical Services Quarterly