Beyond Survival: Managing Academic Libraries in Transition

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One part theory (borrowed from business world), one part practice (including detailed case studies of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Arizona), one part inspiration: Beyond Survival offers ideas about how academic libraries can not only survive in the short term, but take advantage of emergent opportunities by judiciously adopting the same organizational development tools and concepts espoused by the business world.

While there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that significant organizational changes are taking place in academic libraries, the literature suggests that most of these changes take the form of evolutionary, or incremental improvement. But what happens when libraries find themselves in a society characterized by increased information availability compression of time and space, and growing turbulence and unpredictability?

These are conditions with which the business world has been grappling for years, conditions that require not an evolutionary approach, but nimbleness and rapid response. One part theory (borrowed from business world), one part practice (including detailed case studies of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Arizona), one part inspiration, Beyond Survival shows you how the transition tactics and strategies developed by businesses can be adapted to academic libraries. By judiciously adopting the same organizational development tools and concepts espoused by the business world, academic libraries can not only survive in the short term, but can take advantage of emergent opportunities to ensure long-term excellence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In recent years, libraries have heard that they are potentially an endangered species in their current incarnations. In Beyond Survival, the authors provide guidance and inspiration to academic libraries wanting to move past the status quo….[w]ell thought out and presented and is an excellent guide to academic libraries looking to embrace change."


Reference & User Services Quarterly

"[W]e need to fully embrace change, and adapt successful business models like strategic planning and organizational development in order to turn change into an opportunity. In addition to theory, authors Elizabeth J. Wood, Rush Miller and Amy Knapp provide detailed case studies on how libraries at the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh managed the kind of transformative change needed to position the academic library for a vibrant future."


American Libraries

"Although this book is written for librarians at large universities, it contains information useful to the many college librarians who are also experiencing the fallout and opportunities created by institutional, instructional, economic, technological, and social changes across higher education and culture in general. The authors provide a good discussion of the meanings and results of change in theory and practice, and they provide examples of how change has been managed at specific libraries. Readers will find cautions as well as possible actions to take to maintain the library and the position of the librarian within the educational enterprise as changes occur. The desired outcome is not just to survive but to enhance librarians' contributions to the institutions where they work."


Booklist/Professional Reading

"Three library science scholars with business experience from U. of Michigan and U. of Pittsburgh borrow techniques from the business world to offer advice to managers of academic libraries undergoing changes compelled by both internal and external factors. Supported by case studies of two university libraries, chapters discuss the reasons for change, short term vs. long term solutions, the theoretical underpinnings of change, strategies for embedding and perpetuating alterations, the pros and cons of using teams, how to stand up to scrutiny and plan for the future, and barriers to change, among other topics."


Reference & Research Book News

"Academic libraries must change! This message appears in print regularly, usually accompanied by dire warnings of doom if change does not happen quickly. A similar message is found here, but this new book, coauthored by Wood, Rush Miller, and Amy Knapp, also provides lots of helpful advice on what kind of change is needed and how that change might be accomplished. They devote the first three chapters to background details on the need for change, along with an overview of managing change, including strategic planning, organizational development, marketing, and team-based organizations. The next four chapters describe organizational change at the University of Arizona and University of Pittsburgh libraries (Miller was the architect of Pitt's transformation), showing how various management concepts were applied to transform these organizations successfully. The final two chapters address assessment….Recommended for graduate and professional collections."


Library Journal

"As technology developes and user needs evolve, many academic libraries discover themselves in a position either adapting and embracing new technology or remaining unchanged and stagnant….A welcome book, then, is Beyond Survival: Managing Academic Libraries in Transition, a companion guide for academic libraries in transition….In it, the authors detail why change is necessary for libraries, stating that refusal by libraries to change will condemn them to marginalization. The authors also provide a theoretical foundation useful for transitioning academic libraries and detailed, real-world examples of how certain academic libraries are evolving to meet new challenges in the 21st century."


College & Research Libraries

"Wood, Miller, and Knapp have produced an extremely useful volume that has something in it for most academic librarians….A careful study of the information presented in this book will help librarians chart that new course and continue to add quality to the educational experience. In fact, I am going to read this one again!"


Technical Services Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591583370
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited
  • Publication date: 12/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ELIZABETH J. WOOD, holding an AMLS and BA in German from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Murray State University in Kentucky. Author of the first in the Greenwood Library Management Series Strategic Marketing for Libraries (1988) as well as a chapter in James Rettig's Distinguished Classics of Reference Publishing (1992), Elizabeth was keynote speaker at the 1986 LOEX Conference, has written several articles, and has presented many workshops about academic library marketing and strategic planning. A veteran of more than 30 years of academic library service and some 12 years as head of the Information Services Department at Bowling Green State University library.

DR. RUSH MILLER earned the BA, MA and PhD in Medieval History along with the MLS. His library administrative career spans 32 years, including 12 years in his current position as Hillman University Librarian and Director of the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to Pittsburgh, he was Dean of Libraries and Learning Resources at Bowling Green State University, and Director of Libraries at Sam Houston State University and Delta State University. He has authored numerous articles and presentations dealing with subjects ranging from management, digital libraries, organizational development, fund raising, diversity, and staff development. At Pitt, he is known as an innovative leader and has launched a number of wide ranging initiatives on campus and internationally. He has served on the Boards of ARL, PALCI, PALINET, and other professional organizations.

AMY KNAPP, Assistant University Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh's University Library Systems, holds an MA in EnglishLiterature, an MLS degree, and a Phd in Library Science all from the University of Pittsburgh. For several years before accepting her current position, she paid her dues and learned the realities of academic library work as Assistant Head of Database Searching and Coordinator of Library Instruction. Amy has taught classes in Information Retrieval and US Government Resources in the Graduate School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh for ten years. Her dissertation research focused on how faculty access US Federal Government documents in an electronic age. A long-time advocate of a user focus in academic libraries, she has published in the areas of faculty and student use of electronic resources and applications of LibQUAL+TM data to academic library planning and operations.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Duane E. Webster     xvii
Acknowledgments     xix
Introduction     xxi
Why Not Just Keep On Keeping On?     1
Change All Around Us     1
Universities under Siege     2
No Longer the Heart of the University     3
Slow, Steady Decline     4
Readiness for Change     6
Customer Service/User-Centeredness and New Pedagogies     6
Changes in Living and Learning Spaces     7
Changes in Academics     7
Changes in the Communication Infrastructure     8
Accountability and Planning Tools     9
Strategic Planning     9
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment     9
Technologies that Paved the Way     10
Outsourcing of Non-Core Functions     10
Strategic Use of Outsourcing     11
Outsourcing and Re-Engineering     11
Restructuring     11
Public Services Restructuring     11
The Role of Organizational Development in Academic Libraries     12
No Passing Fad     15
Theoretical Underpinnings of Change     17
Marketing     17
Precursors to Marketing     17
The Product Orientation     18
The Selling Orientation     19
Marketing Orientation     20
The Marketing Mix     21
Product Features     21
Brand Image     22
Price     22
Promotion     23
Place     26
Strategic Planning     27
The Basics     27
Hoshin Planning     29
What Is Unique about Hoshin Planning?     29
The Hoshin Process in Brief     30
Balanced Scorecard     30
Four Critical Balanced Scorecard Perspectives     31
University of Virginia's Experience with the Balanced Scorecard     33
Components of University of Virginia's Balanced Scorecard     33
Analysis of Successes and Failures     34
Annual Revision of the Scorecard     35
Application of the Balanced Scorecard to Organizational Change     35
Benefits Accruing to the University of Virginia Library     35
Organizational Development Concepts     36
The Learning Organization     36
Senge in Context     36
The Five Disciplines     37
Nebraska: A Learning Organization Pioneer      38
Learning Organization Outcomes at Nebraska     38
The Star Model for Reorganization     38
Star Model Essentials     38
Elaboration of Star Model Concepts     39
Necessity: The Mother of Innovation     40
Embedding and Perpetuating Change in Academic Libraries     41
No Ideal Type of Organization     41
Managing Change Avoiders     41
The Hierarchy Endures     42
In Favor of Hybrids     42
Sponsorship: Always a Best Practice     42
The Collaborative Spirit     42
Teams in Tandem with Existing Structures     42
Process Improvement as a Stand-Alone Event     44
The Management Role Is Still Valid     44
Top Management's Role     44
To Team or Not to Team?     46
Popular Myths about Teams     47
Teams Are a Panacea-A Good Tool for Every Environment and Situation     47
Building Teams Is a Desirable End in Itself     47
Operational Expertise Should Be the Primary Criterion for Selecting Team Members     47
One Strong Leader Is All You Need to Make a Team Succeed     48
Teams Lead the Organization     48
The More Members, the Stronger the Team      48
Sports Teams Are the Model for Implementation of Work Teams     49
Teams Do the Work of the Organization     49
Teams Are More Productive than Individuals     49
Consensus Is the Only Acceptable Decision-Making Mode for Teams     49
Relationships Are Paramount and Maintaining Harmony Is Job One for Teams     50
All Right-Thinking People Enjoy Working Closely with Others     50
Individuals Are Completely Subsumed by the Team     51
The Team Has Primary Responsibility for Its Own Success     51
Teamwork Means More Meetings     51
Team-Building Exercises Carry Over to the Workplace     51
Personality Type Is the Key to Team Dynamics and Team Results     52
A Guide to Implementing Teams     52
How Sweet It Is When Teams Work!     52
What Teams Need     52
Questions to Ask Before Deciding on Teams     53
Readiness for Change     53
Desire for Autonomy     54
Potential to Develop Team Skills     54
Leadership     54
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire?     55
Are Sufficient Resources Available?     55
What about Performance Problems?     56
Steep Learning Curve      56
A Moving Target     56
Hold Your Nose and Dive? Or Dip in One Toe?     57
How Slow Can You Go?     57
Support for Comprehensive Change     57
The Case for Waves of Change     57
Small Steps toward Change     58
Fitting New Strategies to an Existing Organizational Structure     58
More Questions to Explore     59
That's Not Just Ancient History     59
The Planning Process     60
Common Goals     60
Weighing Alternatives     60
Testing the Options     60
Keeping Score: How Effective Was the Planning?     61
Assessing Outcomes     61
Change Implementation: Management Scorecard     62
Change Implementation: The Process Scorecard     62
Advocacy of Learning Organization Concepts     63
Good Human Resource Practices     63
Recruitment and Retention     63
Training     64
Measuring Performance     64
Technological Infrastructure     65
Two Exemplars of Organizational Change in Academic Libraries     65
Lessons in Organizational Change from the University of Arizona Libraries     67
An Organizational Development Pioneer     67
Many Paths to Transformation     68
It Takes Resources     68
The University of Arizona Libraries Advantage     69
University Support     69
Corporate Support     70
Library Budget Allocation     70
Barriers to Change     71
Overload and Competing Priorities     71
Planning Took a Back Seat     72
Lack of Commitment to Some Projects     72
Low Attendance at Early Training     72
Unrealistic Attendance Expectations     72
Timetable for Change     73
Training Takes Time     73
Team Skills Develop over Time     73
Developing Foundation Documents Is a Cyclical Process     73
Motivation Can Suffer from Tight Time Lines     73
Acquiring New Skills and New Behaviors Takes Time     73
Getting Staff Buy-In Takes Time     74
Resolving Complex Problems Takes Time     74
Team Structure and Process Problems     74
Size     74
Common Understandings     75
Communication and Commitment     75
Skill Sets and Team Conflict     75
Unclear Expectations      75
The Cost of Training     76
Creative Solutions     76
Training Is a Process-Not an Event     76
Three Categories of Need for Ongoing Training     77
Tips from Arizona for Overcoming Obstacles to Organizational Change     78
Involve Staff     78
Think Long Term     79
Focus on Mission-Critical Aspects     79
Set Attainable Goals     79
Articulate a Clear Charge     80
Develop a Shared Vision     80
Provide a Supportive Environment     80
Training     81
Management Review and Guidance     81
Communication     81
Additional Components     81
Performance Review Process     82
Compensation Reforms     82
Articulation of Competencies     82
Cautionary Advice for Change Makers     83
Evolution Not Revolution: First Cycle of Change at the University of Pittsburgh's University Library System     85
The University Library System in Context     85
A Legacy of Problems Becomes Critical     86
Organizational Problems     87
The Hierarchy and Communication     87
Mixed Attitudes about Change and Operational Priorities     87
Unexamined Work Processes     89
Performance Problems     89
Changes in the External Environment     90
A Budgetary Black Hole     90
Anticipation of the Need for Change within ULS     91
New Leadership, Old Problems     91
Twenty-First Century Expectations     91
Internalization of the Vision     92
Shifts in Patron Expectations     92
Preparing for Change Initiatives within the ULS     92
The Case for Damage Control     93
University of Pittsburgh's Vision for Change     93
Re-Engineering Technical Services     94
First Steps     94
The Library Consultant's Role     95
The Context for Re-Engineering     95
Recommendation: Eliminate Redundancies/Repetitive Steps Where No Value Is Added     96
Recommendation: Consider Outsourcing or Adopting a Team-Like Structure     96
Other Issues, Including Learning Organization Concepts     97
The Human Resource Considerations     97
Approaches to Downsizing     97
Biting the Bullet: Relocating Existing Staff     98
Open Communication     98
The HR Consultant's Role      98
All-Staff Workshop     99
Reactions to the Workshop     100
Short-Term Personnel Actions     100
The Implementation Phase     101
The Management Workshop     101
Formulating the Technical Services Reorganization Plan     102
Implementing Technical Services Reorganization     103
First Steps toward Outsourcing     104
Transition to an Automated Environment     105
A Positive Verdict on Outsourcing     105
Rebuilding Phase     106
Organizational Outcomes of Re-Engineering     107
Short-Term Gains     107
Long-Term Gains     108
Change Becomes a Given     111
Making Change the Norm     111
Planning for the Future     112
Preparation for Strategic Planning     112
Organizing the Foot Soldiers     112
The Central Question     113
Foundation Documents     113
Task Force Support and Guidance     114
Planning Assumptions     114
Process Guidelines     115
Task Force Charges     115
Specific Task Force Responsibilities     115
Implementing the Strategic Plan      120
The Implementation Document     120
Core Values     121
New Structure     121
Assigning Responsibility     121
Affirmation of Continuous Organizational Change     122
Strategic Planning Outcomes     122
Consolidation of Regional Libraries     122
Library Storage Facility     122
The Digital Research Library     123
Preserving Threatened Print Materials     124
Adding Value through Special Collections and Partnerships     125
An Invaluable Lesson     126
Looking Beyond Technical Services: The Second Change Cycle at ULS     127
The Second Cycle Begins: Rethinking Public Services     127
The Rationale for Change     128
Initial Data Scan     129
Review and Evaluation of Local Data     129
Alignment of RPST Efforts with the Existing Strategic Plan     130
Key Strategic Plan Issues     130
QSS: An Early Benchmark     130
Initial Hypotheses from Local Data     131
National Data Sources     131
Council on Library and Information Resources Report     131
OCLC White Paper     132
LibQUAL+ Findings      133
Aggregate Ratings across All LibQUAL+ Groups     135
Responses to User Data     136
Further Collection of Local Data     137
Staff Input from Open Meetings     137
Important Staff Observations about Users     138
Using Focus Groups to Gather Data     138
Synthesizing the Data     140
Following Through on RPST's Work     140
Recommendations of the Rethinking Public Services Team     141
Acceptance of Key Recommendations     141
Institutional Change     141
Bringing Remote Users into the Fold     142
Ask a Librarian     142
Web Usability     142
Removing Barriers for All Users     143
Wireless Access     143
Electronic Reserves     144
HelpHub     144
Filling Collection Gaps     145
Enhancing Physical Access     145
Additional New Initiatives     146
Scholarly Publishing     147
Extending Diversity within Academic Libraries     148
Positioned for Ongoing Change     152
Standing Up to Scrutiny     153
Library Accountability     153
The "Good Old Days"      153
A Sea Change in Accountability     154
Documenting the Effectiveness of Organizational Changes     154
Portfolio Method of Evaluation     155
Quality     156
Centrality     157
Marketability     159
Library Use: Complex Motivations     159
Fight Barriers with Benefits     160
Additional Factors to Consider     161
Crafting Strategies from Portfolio Analysis Results     161
Clear-Cut Strategy Options: Building, Terminating, and Downsizing     162
Tougher Decisions     162
The Biggest "Bang for Your Buck"     163
Hoshin Planning and Analysis     164
Assessing and Managing Library Performance     164
Assessment and Evaluation Issues     164
Choosing Measures of Organizational Effectiveness     165
No Clear Consensus     165
Better Data Gathering and Analysis     165
Using Multiple Measures     166
Grounded Theory     167
Texas A & M     167
University of Arizona     168
Successful Data Users     169
Positioning the Academic Library for a Vibrant Future     171
Different Perspectives on Library Performance     171
Traditional Evaluation Methods: Focus on the Library's Perspective     171
Adopting the User's Eye View     172
Libraries and Social Exchange Theory     172
Analysis from the User Perspective     174
Customer Relationship Management     175
Not an Add-On     175
Aligning All Strategy     176
Organizational Implications of CRM     176
Moving toward CRM     177
Four Stages of Coordinating Customer Relationship Information     177
The Third Perspective for Library Evaluation: The Hand that Feeds Us     179
Assessing Student Learning Outcomes     179
Evaluation versus Assessment     179
Good Assessment: A Mix of Objective and Subjective Measures     180
Correlation versus Causation     181
Performance Evaluation: Institutional Outcomes     181
If It's So Hard, Why Even Try?     182
No More Free Passes     182
How Do We Cope?     183
Become Proficient in Quantitative Aspects of Operations and Planning     185
Please the Holders of the Purse Strings (Administrators)     185
Assess and Report Progress     185
Keep Asking the Hard Questions      186
Be Proactive     186
Reach Out     186
Do 360-Degree Evaluation and Communicate Fully     187
Emphasize Recruitment and Training     187
Establish a Safe Atmosphere     188
Maximize Planning Outcomes     188
For This I Went to Library School?     190
Optimistic View     190
Darker View     190
The Handwriting on the Wall     192
Changing Nature of the Internet     192
Volatility of Academic Library Environment     193
Appendix     195
Reference List     207
Index     215
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