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Week 1 chapter 1 -Change in Libraries

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message 1: by Brandy (new)

Brandy | 14 comments Mod
This week we will explore the "thinking exercises" from the first chapter entitled "Change in Libraries."

1. What aspects of your library fit the various organizational models described in this chapter?

2. How would you describe your organizational culture toward explaining decisions?


message 2: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Moore (suzeq) | 1 comments I have seen how change can lead to anxiety and confusion in my personal experiences as a library supervisor. This chapter reminded me that employees see change completely different from management. In our organization there is a well thought structure for communication. Sharing of ideas and strategies is important. Our management team meets monthly as a group and weekly with one-on-one meetings between the director and department managers. Taking the time to meet is essential to staying on task with yearly goals and the collaboration between upper and middle management is valuable to stay connected to how things are working on the front line and behind the scenes.
When explaining decisions I like the tip that supervisors need to "go the extra mile" when considering how change will effect staff ... in other words ... be responsive and lead by example!


message 3: by Librarian67 (new)

Librarian67 | 1 comments Within the library, we have good communication flow between the Director and the three Coordinators who run the day-to-day activities of the library and supervise the staff. The Coordinators and Director meet weekly to discuss issues and make plans. The Director is very open to new ideas and allows everyone to try new things without fear of what will happen if it doesn't work out. This, in turn, allows the Coordinators to treat the staff in the same manner. It makes for a very open and productive staff with lots of great ideas.

However, our issues come from the lack of communication from college administration. Decisions are made that affect the library without any input from us or understanding of how libraries even operate. This is extremely frustrating and disheartening at times. It really feels like a lack of respect for who we are and what we do.


message 4: by Regina (new)

Regina | 1 comments As a "middle-management" staff member in a public library of a county system, I have noticed that change has been addressed differently since a new director came 3 years ago. She definitely understands the dynamics of change and how staff react if they aren't given a chance to see the big picture and allowed to own the changes for themselves. Communication of what she envisions the future to be is key, because once staff understand the goal, it is easier for them to see their place in the new plans.


message 5: by Helen (last edited Jun 11, 2016 09:37AM) (new)

Helen | 2 comments 1. Our library system has a highly defined hierarchical staff/management structure, similar to a corporation. Staff bring questions or comments directly to their immediate supervisor and communication usually travels up and down through the chain in this way. Our libraries market our collections, programs, and services, similar to the way a commercial entity would market their products (except we have much less money to do it!). We try to provide our services for free, as would a non-profit, and we are trying to reach out to those who would benefit most from our services. As a government agency, we have prescribed rules and procedures dictated by our funding agencies and by other branches of government to which we report. We also want our citizens to perceive the libraries in a positive light, since they are not only our users, but our funding support, as well.
2. Our organization holds a series of forums at which the library system's directors inform all staff on current issues and future projects. In addition, the individual branches have all-staff meetings (every couple of months, it seems) and department meetings (approximately monthly). At our particular branch, staff who are scheduled to work that day meet each Friday with the managers, and information is shared and minutes provided. So decisions are usually well-explained, at least at our branch.


message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan Adams | 1 comments Like Regina, I am a middle manager at a county system. Our Director has vastly improved his communication of administration plans for change in our system. His undoubted success in the county is somewhat due to his ability to utilize the methodology, strategy and vocabulary more often seen in a business environment, as described by Helen. I do wish that he could more easily translate his vision back into library-eze when he is sharing with line staff. In an effort to always elevate what we do, his descriptions of the 'big picture' sometimes seems blurred by the jargon that still seems foreign to many staff members. Still he is communicating, and the middle managers can often translate to a more day-to-day reality.


message 7: by Anne (new)

Anne | 1 comments Working for a large public library system, I really appreciated the authors recognizing the culture of employee freedom and the lack of harsh retaliation for misbehavior. This environment definitely makes leading and managing staff more difficult than in a corporate setting. Our institution is getting a lot better at explaining decisions. Our current director is encouraging a very transparent information style which is very appreciated by staff.


message 8: by Allison (new)

Allison (lifeinprose) | 1 comments The library system in which I work is more of a corporate hierarchy, like Helen had described. Communication on a large scale is regularly given, however there are occasions when only some details are communicated as an almost as-needed basis. It can be a downfall of larger library systems, with a large number of managers, to have information either be over-shared by multiple managers, or have information not distributed because it is not seen as pertinent to the front-line staff.


message 9: by Christie (new)

Christie (cereale) | 1 comments 1. While reading this chapter I thought quite a bit about my own library system and how the branches differ quite a bit from each other as far as organizational models go. Overall, we have a hierarchical organizational structure, and our largest branch definitely reflects that. However, within the smaller branches there is more of a flat and cooperative structure. In these branches, I feel like opposition to change is more acceptable and managers tend to be more open with communication which helps staff feel more comfortable with proposed changes.

2. Changes are usually communicated from the top down from the director to the branch managers, to the supervisors, and then to front-line staff. Staff at all levels are encouraged to provide feedback on changes that affect the whole library system, which can sometimes be a bit unwieldy, but helps staff have ownership of proposed changes. Other changes are done with input only from managers or supervisors. Most changes are communicated well, but there are always sometimes when it doesn't get down to the front line staff with enough time to generate buy-in.


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