Library 2.0: The I-Team, the P-Team, and the R-Team…

Reading Chapter 4: Framework of Change in Library 2.0 gave me many ideas of how I could implement change in my organization. I am always trying to get feedback from librarians and support staff but it always falls short. I never get enough input to make a decision about change. I cannot require any one to give me input because I am not their supervisor although I am a librarian. I really need the support of my supervisor the director, but is not interested in evaluating anything unless we are required by upper level management. This disconnect makes it difficult for me to survey librarians and support staff to implement change or new services that may benefit our library patrons.

Chapter 4 gave me a boost of energy and sparked many ideas of how I can encourage the staff to participate. Of course, some of my ideas may seem like a chore to a staff that still uses a card catalog.

I would love to see if my idea of a mobile hub would be beneficial to our students. Of course, this would require the involvement of internal and external stakeholders. I would need the input of the IT department, which is grossly understaffed. I feel guilty disturbing them about a broken mouse or keyboard although they are essential to daily operations. Of course, I still ask for their assistance. This brings up the big issue of being understaffed. It is mentioned in the chapter that small libraries will find it difficult to create the I, P, and R teams. (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 57) My organization is large but my library staff is miniscule.

I know the support staff sometimes feels like their ideas will not be heard or recognized. I try to include everyone, but it is difficult to get them accustomed to giving input. Sometimes if I do not get input I am unable to make an intelligent decision and a project falls to the waist side, because I lose motivation. Then the staff will come to me and say I thought you were going to do blank. I explain no one gave me any input or worked to help me get a project off the ground, and I could not do it alone. I made a decision to work on a project that was more feasible. Many projects are team-oriented especially projects that will bring about change in the library. (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 42)

My library is guilty of “Plan, Implement, and Forget,” and I started to evaluate basic library services such as reference and instruction. (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 39) It was difficult to get front line staff to disseminate surveys to library users. I am constantly sending reminder emails, and mentioning it to them in casual conversations. It is still not enough feedback from our patrons. Our resources are limited and I am sure library users want new or improved services. Of course, it is difficult to get input if the front line staff does not take it seriously. I explain how the data will be used, and the importance of their participation but it does not work.

My microcosm is not indicative of what most academic libraries strive for in terms of evaluating services and staff participation. I did work at a university library where I was given the “illusion of participative management,” but I have actually implements many ideas brought to me by support staff. (Casey & Savastinuk, 2007, p. 46) Since they work so closely with our patrons and hear their grievances their input is vital.

Reference: Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today.

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2 responses to “Library 2.0: The I-Team, the P-Team, and the R-Team…

  1. I remember quite vividly on the first day of my very first professional library job being sat down at the desk by my direct supervisor. He pulled out a pen and a blank piece of paper and began to draw the organizational chart. To this day, I still remember being a bit shocked out how siloed I was about to become and hierarchical the library was.

    As I wrote in a comment on your other post, getting past these structures is difficult, and you’re usually not told how to do it in a book. Casey and Savastinuk make a stab at it and draft some good models, but sometimes those can’t be accomplished when the culture of change and collaboration doesn’t exist at all. In these cases, we have to develop small partnerships and strategic alliances in order to push forward.

    • You make a good point! I have been told by other librarians at sister colleges to find alliances outside the library to create change. I am only hesitate to do this because I am still going through the tenure process. One year to go!

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