ILA Best Practices

Archive for the ‘Managing’ Category

I ran across an interesting article this month that discussed recognition in librarianship–Micah Vandegrift’s “Rewards and Recognition in Librarianship,” which led me to Valerie Forrestal’s “The In Crowd, or Fear and Loathing in Library Land,” also published this month.

Though many of us consider the library profession a calling, it can be difficult to maintain a high level of enthusiasm and passion year after year strictly from internal motivation alone. What motivates you to do your best work? How have you been recognized, or recognized colleagues or staff, in a meaningful way? Good performance reviews, raises, and promotions are all wonderful, but what about public recognition within the library and beyond? What kinds of things does your library do that you particularly appreciate? Are teams recognized as well as individuals?

I’d love to hear from librarians of all types, including those in management.

Hilary Meyer
Chicago, IL


1.     Have the staff members at all levels share what they appreciate about each other in very specific ways. In small groups, have staff discuss the things that others do that make life and work easier for them.  Be sure to record these comments and post them afterwards. Be sure that feedback gets back to others.

2.     Have people talk about what they like about working at the library and why they have made this their work. What is working for them right now?  Have people share what’s working for the patron and what successes have occurred this year?  Also discuss the challenges they may face in the future.

3.     Discuss in an involved way what the future direction for the library should be in programs, services, processes, facility, human resources etc.

4.     Identify what are the future trends in facility, programs, technology, and materials.  Bring a local author to talk about books.

5.     Provide opportunities for leaders from the community to address what they see are the critical issues they are facing and how those could be helped by the library.

6.     Provide for an open exchange of information between the staff, board, and leaders.  Bringing a moderator may help here.

7.     Teach a few vital skills necessary for the library to be a success (learning about a new technology, handling patron complaints, dealing with teens etc.)

8.     Be sure to follow-up on questions, concerns, ideas and/or suggestions for change that are mentioned.

9.     Provide opportunities for staff skits on a day in the life of your department or your most unusual reference or patron request.

10.  Do let the staff know that they are appreciated and solicit their feedback on how the day went.  Thank all those who helped with the day.


Dan Wiseman, Managing Partner
Wiseman Consulting and Training Inc.
133 W. Palatine Rd. Suite 202
Palatine, IL 60067
847-221-5197 (Home Office)
847-902-9034 (Dan Cell)


The bloggers at Harvard Business Review provide best practices for managers in a variety of settings.   Topics covered include feedback, networking, new hires, team players, and what to do when you’ve made a mistake.

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