Catching On: Management Training in Depository Libraries

By Ryan, Marianne | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Catching On: Management Training in Depository Libraries


Ryan, Marianne, Reference & User Services Quarterly


In July, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced that he would retire from his position at the end of the current baseball season. Although the season didn't end until October and spring training doesn't start until February of next year, there was immediate buzz and much speculation about who would be the next skipper of the storied franchise. It is never too early to start looking for a good manager.

Before settling on interim manager Mike Quade to take the full-time job, many names were suggested to be the team's next leader. Two of the top candidates were Bob Brenly, who led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series title in 2001, and Joe Girardi, who took the Yankees to a World Series championship last year Brenly is currently a well-respected analyst for the Cubs' on-air broadcasting team, while Girardi played with the Cubs from 1989-92 and again from 2000-2002. But apart from their obvious managerial success, it's not their connections to the Cubs that have their names among the frontrunners--it's the fact that when they were active players, they both were catchers. Catchers are viewed as the lynchpins of the baseball diamond. From their unique vantage point behind the plate, they are able to size up everything that happens on the field: where everyone on the team is positioned, what's going on in each of the dugouts, where the umpires are situated, what the baseline coaches are up to, and whether there's activity in the bullpens. They also call the games, signaling the pitcher what pitches to throw to whom. Based on how the game plays out, they adjust, readjust, and recommend adjustments. An astute catcher will suggest fine-tuning that allows the other specialized position players to perform like a well-oiled machine. They can keep an eye on the fans as well. They see and do it all.

Catchers themselves are specialists, too; their position is considered the most difficult and grueling to play Often they are converted to play other positions. Because of their inherent versatility and their required relationship with everyone else on the team, it's no surprise that there's a preponderance of catchers-turned-managers in Major League Baseball (MLB). In the first eighty years of the twentieth century, 21.6 percent of MLB managers once were catchers. (1) Three of the five new managers hired in 2008 had previously played that position. Of the four teams left standing in the 2009 postseason, three were managed by former catchers. Forty percent of current MLB managers were career catchers. As Nalbantian and Guzzo note, it can't be by accident that such a disproportionate number of MLB managers were catchers. There appears to be something in that job that provides broader perspective by linking the individual more fully to the organization. (2)

What does this have to do with libraries? As in baseball, libraries are always looking for good managers. The broad skill set and range of experience needed by administrators are often cultivated by holding a variety of positions at a number of different institutions, most often on a track that primarily focuses on either public services, technical services, collections, or sometimes IT work, the separate areas of operation that inform many libraries. But, also like baseball, there might be a single area of library expertise that lets practitioners see and do it all. A "catcher's background" would prepare a librarian to take on the challenges of managing at the senior level before actually reaching it. Such a background would transcend divisions and offer potential for a different kind of leadership.

Numerous libraries of all types and sizes--currently, nearly 1250--participate in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), a network coordinated by the United States Government Printing Office (GPO). (3) Depository libraries select and receive a range of content in an array of subject areas in both hard and electronic formats at no cost in exchange for making the information freely available to library users, including the general public.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Catching On: Management Training in Depository Libraries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?