Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Library Reformation: 95 Edicts You Should Nail to Your Library's Door

Brian Simon, Director, Verona Public Library & Nathan Deprey, Director, Osceola Public Library, gave an interesting presentation at last week's Wisconsin Library Association Conference. Their list is online, and even if you don't want to nail it to your door, it's worth reading and discussing.

Example theses:

2. Above books, subscription databases, story time or ready reference our service is undertaken to improve the community we serve.

55. Libraries have traditionally changed slowly which has created a level of stability. Stability is a good thing except when it is threatened by becoming obsolete. Libraries need to innovate, or at least be up-to-date. Libraries must be more nimble to change.

62. Budget knowledge should be conveyed to as many people as will hear you. Use Friends or Library newsletters; discuss with library staff, elected officials, and other stakeholders in the communities you serve.

75. It makes a greater impact when someone learns that the library helps: conduct market research for a local business, improve ACT scores, fix a car, teach people to read, or provide access to online classes, rather than learning the library offers 16 databases, 66,000 books, or 15 Internet accessible computers.


Melody Hanson said...

51. Very little of the Masters in Library Science degree prepares someone with the skills for library administration.
52. That being said, the Masters in Library Science programs must be critically revised to produce the necessary skills the profession needs. Personnel management, staff motivation, budgeting, funding source understanding, legal knowledge and implications, grant writing, lobbying, etc. should be focused on more rigorously,

These two edicts ring true. I had one (excellent) management class in library school, but it is the only one offered and there is talk that is is irrelevant to the curriculum. I was also able to attend an excellent grant writing workshop led by a library school staff member. But that is it. On a (somewhat) related note, I have been able to take many new technology classes as part of my library education. But in general, library school is still geared more towards theory than practice.

Terry Dawson said...

I agree. Much depends on the skills and interests of individual faculty. A recent grad of my acquaintance was often frustrated by the theoretical, and even idealized, nature of some of the teaching. She did have an excellent course in public libraries, with many real world problems considered.

Two good classes that I still remember -- decades later -- were a seminar in management taught by Louis Kaplan (then Director of UW Madison libraries) and Margaret Monroe's seminar in planning library services in public library systems. The latter was one tough class: lots of theory, with the expectation that the students were going to work through pragmatic aspects. Still idealized in some respects, but it prepared us for dealing with some real world issues.

I also had an excellent class on public library management taught by Verna Pungitore at UW-O. I took that one as C.E., and I got more out of it because I had a few years experience working as a supervisor.