Karen Foss, Library Director of the Catawba County Library System in Newton, North Carolina has expressed that it is difficult to find materials to help new public library managers cultivate their professional development. Most of the research and writings on library management have focused on academic libraries and only recently has there been more interest in the administration of public libraries. The skill and style of public library managers – the directors, branch managers, and department and service managers who are leading these institutions – strongly affects the culture of a public library. Library staff looks to these managers to help them navigate through the rapid changes that are occurring in public libraries as these changes in technology, roles, and user expectations strongly alter their daily routines of public service. Contemporary library managers need a wider array of skills and attributes than their earlier and more traditional counterparts and will need to seek continual professional development to remain effective as public libraries transition into the twenty-first century. These managers will also need to distinguish between management and leadership skills and learn to identify and mentor leaders within their staff who can assist in the transition.
This paper is a brief scan of the literature currently available on managing libraries and includes information on academic as well as public libraries due to the above-mentioned lack of public library material. Weiner reviewed the literature extant on leadership in academic libraries and surveyed materials on “recruitment, leadership potential identification, career development, roles and responsibilities, and characteristics and management style” (2003, p. 5). Since she chose to focus on leadership as well as management attributes, her review encompasses materials on library directors as well as university librarians. A discussion of the changes and... [continues]
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