Toxic Dynamics: Disrupting, Dismantling, and Transforming Academic Library Culture—eEditions PDF e-book

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

Academic libraries are full of inspiring collections, resources, and services, but libraries are special because of the people who run them. And what people believe about and face in their culture impacts ideas, plans, and outcomes. Academic library workers face many contemporary challenges that contribute to toxic work cultures—the rapid change of higher education, diminishing resources, lack of diversity, power hierarchies—and addressing these problems requires innovative solutions, ongoing professional development, and effective leadership.
Toxic Dynamics: Disrupting, Dismantling, and Transforming Academic Library Culture provides practical solutions for confronting these complex issues and innovative ways to promote a healthy and sustainable work culture. It addresses critical and timely challenges such as faculty versus staff or us versus them mentality, unionization, gendered labor, organizational change, self-care, tenure, and promotion. Authors from all sizes and types of academic libraries provide evidence-based solutions to mitigate the negative effects of toxicity, change management strategies, and ways to confront and challenge values that harm library workers and their well-being.
By understanding the root causes of toxic cultures, recognizing their impact, and implementing solutions, leaders can create a more supportive and positive work environment and improve morale, retention, and productivity. Toxic Dynamics is an important resource for anyone interested in improving workplace culture and addressing issues related to toxicity and inequity, and for library leaders at all levels.

Russell Michalak, Trevor A. Dawes, and Jon E. Cawthorne
Chapter 1. Crisis in the Academic Library
Cari Didion
Chapter 2. Toxic Cultures in Higher Education: Faculty Unionization and Librarian Perspectives
Chloe Persian Mills
Chapter 3. Bridging the Staff/Faculty Librarian Divide: Reducing Toxicity in a Learning Commons Environment
Erica Swenson Danowitz and Michael LaMagna
Chapter 4. Culture and Leadership Change: The Perpetuation of Toxic Behaviors in Uncertain Times
Shelly McDavid and Juliet Gray
Chapter 5. Faculty by Any Other Name: Contract Classification’s Contributions to Toxic Cultures
Kaitlin Springmier, Carolyn Caffrey, and Katherine Luce
Chapter 6. Real Punks Advocate: Shifting the Culture to Address Academic Library Toxicity
Rachel Martinez and Matt Ogborn
Chapter 7. Toxic Work Culture during University Consolidations: The Importance of Transformational Leadership in Libraries
Melissa Edmiston Johnson
Chapter 8. Rankism in Academic Libraries
Alex Harrington and Linda Klimczyk
Chapter 9. Punching Down: The Role of Hierarchy in Creating a Toxic Workplace Culture
Natalia Estrada
Chapter 10. Maintenance as a Core Value: Recommendations for Increasing Gender Equity on Digital Scholarship Teams
Amanda Koziura and Stephanie Becker
Chapter 11. Creating a Toxic Workplace Culture: The Damaging Effects of Well-Intentioned but Misguided Management Decisions
Cynthia F. Kutka, Marlee Dorn Givens, Karen Glover, and Sofia Slutskaya
Chapter 12. How Poor Leadership and Favoritism Intersect to Create Toxic Work Environments
Simone Williams and Lora Del Rio
Chapter 13. Believe Me: Exploring How Leaders Generate Toxic Cultures in Academic Libraries
Yvonne Nalani Meulemans and Allison Carr
Chapter 14. Detoxing Library Culture: A Research and Assessment Approach
Jennifer Gunter King
Chapter 15. Library Faith, Self-Care, and Academic Librarianship
John DeLooper
Chapter 16. Librarian Mentorship through Mutual Scholarship: An Approach to Foster Higher Morale and Strengthen Collegiality
Kristen J. Nyitray and Dana Reijerkerk
About the Authors

Russell Michalak

Russell Michalak, MLIS, is the library director at Goldey-Beacom College and has 20-plus years of experience working in special (law & health sciences) libraries, as well as in small, mid-and-large sized academic libraries. He has been working in library administration for 15 years. Michalak regularly publishes a column in the Journal of Library Administration called PosIT, which delves into all aspects of library-related information technologies and knowledge management used to connect users to information technology. Michalak publishes and presents regularly on artificial intelligence, library leadership and management, project management, library budgets and negotiating contracts with vendors, library assessment, textbook affordability, privacy, information literacy, archives and digital collections, collection management, and implementation of library technology & EdTech tools. Michalak earned his master’s in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s from Occidental College.

Trevor A. Dawes

Trevor A. Dawes, a librarian, educator, and consultant, has worked in the academic library sector for over 20 years, developing and providing service-enhancing training and professional development opportunities that positively impact library-wide projects and programs. Dawes also facilitates workshops on leadership development and diversity, improving librarians’ and library workers’ knowledge, skills, competencies, and abilities. A published author and presenter, Dawes has written or edited books, book chapters, and articles and presented on various topics at local, national, and international conferences.  Dawes earned his Master of Library Science from Rutgers University and has two additional master’s degrees in educational leadership and educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Jon E. Cawthorne

Jon E. Cawthorne, PhD, has served as library dean at Wayne State University Library System, which includes the University’s School of Information Sciences and West Virginia University. He has a PhD in managerial leadership in the information professions from Simmons University and is passionate about inspiring the next generation of leaders, supporting healthy organizational cultures, building leadership capacity within non-profit boards, and increasing diverse representation and voices across the information and publishing industries. Cawthorne is a past president of the Association of College and Research Libraries and currently serves as the vice-chair for the Wiki Education Board and chair of the Lived Places Publishing Advisory Board.