Category Archives: Leadership
The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement by Wyoma VanDuinkerken & Pixey Anne Mosley
I really think that sums up the most important lesson you can learn about being a manager. Where once you were able to focus solely on the public you serve and the advancement of your career, you are now responsible for a multitude of people and all the issues they bring to the table as well as patrons and the building you work in. Weeee! While dated (2004) a lot of principles in this book will help the new manager with the basic things such as meetings, time management and how your role has shifted in the library culture. This is a lonely gig. As someone moving back into public service management, I looked at it as more of a refresher course in things I already knew. 2004, 211 pages.
I admit that it wasn’t very long ago that I was burned out on public service. I’d spent many years doing front line reference and front line management. I was tired, overwhelmed and most importantly very disappointed in myself. Where did my drive go? This book is the first one I’ve ever picked up that held my hand and said, you know what? This happens and we’re going to show you why and how you can get the leadership you back. Whoa. I’m not a fan of business books in general but I like this one. Their whole philosophy starts with compassion and hope-what isn’t to like? 2005, 304 pages.
I’ve read Graham’s books before and we’ve even had him talk at our staff development day, but I’ve never reviewed them and it was time to refresh my memory. Graham worked security but did not know libraries until he talked with the director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library in North Carolina. What happens next is my favorite thing to watch-the initiation of the unknowing to the knowing about public libraries and what we all deal with on a daily basis.
A small practical book, Graham shares his knowledge about handling different situations and feeling empowered to deal with the public. It’s easy-going tone laced with humor will set many readers at ease-even those who are not at all certain they have what it takes to play security guard librarian. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more real examples followed through with how they were handled. Visuals can be very helpful. 55 pages, 2006.
The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook for Implementing Great Service in Your Organization by Robert Spector
We all know the customer service mantra and frankly, I think it is way over done. However, I read this book twice to catch all the wisdom and thoughtfulness that is integral to the service provided by Nordstrom. Robert Spector works in Nordstrom history (which builds your understanding on their philosophies) with countless examples of how employees of Nordstrom have been empowered to focus all their energies on the customer in front of them.
What the book has done for me is to give me a green light to better trust my customers. Yes, there are people that will take advantage of you and who will stop at nothing to work the system. But, why do we cater our rules and our day to day operations to them? It does us no good. In fact, it does us great harm. The burnout rate of people on the front-lines in the public library is high and with good reason. If you had to listen to someone scream at you about a .25 cent fine, you would too. Why can’t we put trust first and do the best we can by each person that we meet? Extend the extra effort and it will come back to you tenfold. Call it what you will-karma, fate or just simple kindness-it is in great need as we move into the interactive generation. 2005, 270 pages.
A leadership book about change that will not make you fall asleep! Kotter (Harvard Business) uses a fable format full of colorful graphics to present a story about a group of penguins who must face the realities of global warming and find a way to survive. Readers will find everyone in here-the shy but smart penguin that figures it out, the alarmists who go around sabatoging the good work accomplished to the guy who is so lost in the research that he forgets about the alarming situation unfolding around him. Change is perhaps one of the hardest concepts to manage in a leadership role and Kotter provides an interesting story to get you thinking. 2006, 106 pages.