Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Small Public Library Management

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Small Public Library Management

Article excerpt

Small Public Library Management. By Jane Pearlmutter and Paul Nelson. Chicago: ALA, 2012. 152 p. Paper $50 (ISBN: 9780838910856).

Comprehensive and entertaining, but ultimately rather superfluous--in a nutshell, this describes this new title in the ALA Fundamentals series. To begin with, the title of the book is misleading. When most people think of a "small public library," the image that comes to mind is a shoestring operation in a rural area, where the director is often the only full-time professional staff member. The challenges of running this type of library are significantly unique to warrant a management handbook just on that topic. However, this book reads more like a manual about life in suburbia. For advice on running a truly small library, a better option is Herbert B. Landau's The Small Public Library Survival Guide: Thriving on Less (ALA, 2008).

The excellent organization of this book makes it easy for the reader to delve in at any point of need, whether the task is preparing one's first budget, hiring staff, or weeding the collection. Visually, there is a suitable mix of bulleted lists, pictures, and tables. The boxes labeled "tales from the field" are particularly useful, as they provide concrete details about of how specific libraries have risen to the occasion to meet specific needs. …

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