Magazine article Information Today

Weather or Not

Magazine article Information Today

Weather or Not

Article excerpt

Although it didn't exactly make the headlines during the final weeks of the presidential campaign, sometime in October, a short article appeared in my newspaper that said the Farmer's Almanac was predicting a really bad winter. A week or so earlier, my brother-in-law Wayne had assured me that we were going to have a mild winter. Now, while I find Wayne's forecast much more desirable, I think the Farmer's Almanac is a little more reliable. But, then again, Wayne does have an uncanny ability to shake a wrapped present, sniff it, hold it up to his head, and proclaim its contents, even when the giver has gone to extremes to disguise it. So maybe he's got some sixth sense that the National Weather Service is lacking. Just in case the Almanac proves correct, however, I have a selection of good books to have on hand for the days when going outside is not an option.

Whoops-You're a Library Manager!

Did you take a less-traditional route on the way to becoming a library manager? If so, you'll want to read The Accidental Library Manager by Rachael Singer Gordon, founder and Webmaster of library career site and columnist for Library Journal. The book was written specifically for people who came into this position "without step-by-step progression up the career ladder." Gordon's goal is to show "accidental library managers" how to use their existing library skills, background, and training to become more effective managers while developing enthusiasm and aptitude for their jobs. Gordon also offers plenty of advice to keep managers from plowing into a snowbank or hitting that hidden but extremely dangerous patch of black ice.

Divided into 13 chapters, each with notes and recommended reading lists, the book covers all aspects of library management. Chapter 1, "Becoming a Library Manager," addresses the skills needed as well as the challenges to be faced, discusses how to make the transition into the role, and outlines exactly what a library manager does. The next group of chapters focuses in on the levels of management and how to manage the people who work for you, from hiring to coordinating schedules, professional development, and dealing with diversity and different levels of employees (upper management to volunteers). Gordon devotes chapters to managing facilities and technologies as well as managing money and budgets. Chapter 11, "Theories of Management," looks at some of the well-known theories, from the chaos theory and the contingency theory, to Myers-Briggs, the Peter Principle, and total quality management. The last two chapters weigh in on philosophical, legal, and ethical issues and how to define goals, change positions or fields, and go solo.

Advice for the Skeptical Searcher

If you take the Farmer's Almanac with a grain of salt, never fall for those bleeding-heart e-mails from people living in Third World countries (who just happen to have DSL), and aren't totally convinced that Ohio is really a red state unless you can find a paper trail, then you are probably a skeptic. And have we got a book for you! Written by the Information Advisor himself, Robert Berkman's The Skeptical Business Searcher is a guide to evaluating Web data, sites, and sources. As Reva Basch notes in the foreword, the book "emphasizes the importance of critical thinking-that is, taking an active, questioning stance when confronted with new information-and demonstrates exactly how you can develop and hone your own critical-thinking skills."

Drawing on his 15 years as editor of The Information Advisor newsletter, Berkman spreads his skeptical searching acumen over nine chapters. …

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