The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement

By Mugridge, Rebecca L. | Library Resources & Technical Services, October 2012 | Go to article overview

The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement


Mugridge, Rebecca L., Library Resources & Technical Services


The Challenge of Library Management: Leading With Emotional Engagement. By Wyoma vanDuinkerken and Pixey Anne Mosley. Chicago: ALA, 2011.169 p. $52 softcover (ISBN 978-0-8389-1102-0).

Library leaders and managers face constant change in the workplace, whether it involves technology, personnel, policies, or procedures. While the word "change" does not appear in the title, The Challenge of Library Management: Leading with Emotional Engagement is about how library leaders and managers can effectively manage change in all its forms. Authors Wyoma vanDuinkerken and Pixey Anne Mosley are both widely published in the field of library leadership and management and are highly qualified to write on this topic. The book is well researched with sources from the management, human resources, psychology, and library sciences disciplines.

Beginning with an overview of change in libraries, the authors describe how ubiquitous change is in the field of librarianship and the surprising dearth of research published on this topic. They go on to describe other challenges that exist in libraries, such as library managers who are called on to lead change in areas other than their own and the lack of extensive leadership training received by most library managers. Following this introduction to change in libraries, the authors address what they term "the human factor" with an insightful discussion of the causes of change resistance among employees (11). They caution managers against stereotyping or making assumptions about their employees' resistance to change. To this point, the authors encourage managers to maintain a level of detachment in the face of employee resistance to change. The impact of organizational culture is addressed in chapter 3 with discussions on its importance, how culture effects change, and how to change organizational culture over time. The authors encourage managers to understand organizational culture before they try to make changes.

The next two chapters address initiating and implementing change effectively. These are thoughtful discussions that consider important issues such as trust, communication, empowerment, and motivation. One of the first steps in initiating change is for managers to communicate the need for change to employees and, to do that effectively, managers must have a vision that they can share. Without that vision, employees are often skeptical of the need for change and will demonstrate resistance to any suggested change. When implementing change, the authors encourage empowerment through the delegation of implementation details and emphasize the need for flexibility, engagement with all levels of the organization, and constant two-way communication. Of course, managers cannot control all details of an organizational change that may affect the success of the initiative. …

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