Management Basics for Information Professionals

I have recently finished Management Basics for Information Professionals by Edward Evans and Camilla Alire. It is an excellent overview of management as it pertains to libraries. It references both the library and the general management literature. It is very American, which is mostly not important, although American laws are different from the UK. Interesting ideas that I picked up is that delegating gets more done, and that making jobs more interesting can motivate people. A good read and an essential reference work for librarians, as the authors point out: some management is unavoidable.

The Librarian’s Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media


I have just finished The Librarian’s Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media by Laura Solomon. This is an excellent book on social media. Some aspects were familiar to me, but some were new. The concept of social capital, where marketing messages are seen as withdrawals of it (i.e. negative) was new to me, and makes me think about our twitter feed @GEHLibrary in a new light. Measuring return on investment was also something that challenged me. It was from an American public library perspective, but the principles will be very useful. I was also encouraged by the tips on how to keep going in the long term.

Making sense of evidence in management decisions: the role of research-based knowledge on innovation adoption and implementation in health care NIHR Journals Library | Issue 6

NIHR Journals Library | Issue 6. Making sense of evidence in management decisions: the role of research-based knowledge on innovation adoption and implementation in health care.

This is an excellent researchstudy looking at the use of evidence. Doctors are more interested in evidence that persuades them, while nurses like evidence that persuades them and others. Non-clinical managers differ from clinicians in putting primacy on seeing something work locally.

There are 27 case studies showing the reasoning process of the adoption or not in eight trusts of various new infection control technologies. Scientific articles were influential in some but by no means all decisions. Research-based organisations were more likely to rely on internal trials rather than external published evidence.

Rarely was “evidence” enough on its own. Other factors included trust culture, wider situation, and individual interests.

Making Alignment a Priority (MAP) Toolkit


Yesterday I attended Making Alignment a Priority (MAP) Toolkit: National Launch Event at New Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. This was an excellent introduction to a toolkit devised to help write effective project plans and case studies. I intend to use the case studies one to write up our Obs & Gynae Journal Club. The project plan template will help to provide rigour and focus to new ideas. I also enjoyed a tour of the library at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Essential Cataloguing


I have just finished Essential Cataloguing. It is a while since I received formal training in cataloguing, and yet I catalogue new books for our library. Mostly this amounts to downloading records from the Library of Congress or the National Library of Medicine, but occasionally I have to create records from scratch. This book was a useful revision for me. It assumes access to the text of AACR2, and does go into more detail than I need for a small medical library, but it is an excellent resource. It was published in 2003, and so it might in part have been superseded by the new RDA, which the Library of Congress has been using since March 2013.

The tiger that isn’t


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I have just finished The Tiger That Isn’t Seeing Through a World of Numbers by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot. It is an excellent introduction to statistics without formulae and highlights the innumeracy of ministers, civil servants, journalists and indeed all of us. But it helps to redress the situation by discussing in simple terms key statistical concepts that are easily misunderstood. For example, how averages can be misleading, how any data hides a more complex picture, and natural variation in results over time. Often we are not critical because we want to believe what we think the numbers say.

I will definitely be recommending this book to people who struggle with statistics.

The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey


I have just finished this inspirational classic. The seven habits are:

  1. Be proactive: I need to take charge of my “circle of influence” and not worry about my “circle of concern”
  2. Begin with the end in mind: I need to think what do I really want to achieve, and align my actions accordingly.
  3. Put first things first: Most of our time is wasted on urgent, but unimportant things, or even non-urgent, unimportant things. I need to focus my time and energy on non-urgent important things (determined by 1 &2 above). Building relationships is an example of this.
  4. Think win/win: We tend to go for win/lose (where I get what I want, and you don’t) or lose/win (where I capitulate to you). I need to negotiate agreements where everyone wins or be prepared to walk away (no deal).
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood: When talking to people, I am often planning my own response rather than really seeking to understand. This must change!
  6. Synergise: the results of cooperation are greater than the sum of the parts.
  7. Sharpen the saw: I need to seek to renew myself so that I do not burn out. For me, this will come from an ongoing personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

I was very inspired by this book and am amazed by its wisdom. I really want to put it into practice.

Assessing Service Quality: Satisfying the Expectations of Library Customers


I have just finished the excellent Assessing Service Quality: Satisfying the Expectations of Library Customers by Peter Hernon and Ellen Altman. Ideas I have taken from it include:

Benchmark against appropriate libraries

Comment/complaint form

Use data from surveys to set targets.

False positives in satisfaction surveys

Satisfaction is not good enough. Loyalty is more important.

Quadrants of importance and quality.

Wicked Problems & Clumsy Solutions: The Role of Leadership



Today I attended an excellent masterclass by Professor Keith Grint on “Wicked Problems & Clumsy Solutions: The Role of Leadership”. It was very stimulating. We tend to assume most problems are “tame problems” that can be fixed by “elegant solutions”. Elegant solutions are either hierarchical (rules), egalitarian (meetings) or individualistic (doing own thing). But they don’t work because the problem is too complex i.e. it is a “wicked problem”. Instead we need elements of all three to create a “clumsy solution” to the wicked problem.

Doing what it says on the tin? 10 year celebration of health librarianship: past, present & future.


There were some excellent presentations at this event at University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire yesterday. Richard Parker on mobile devices warned against wasting time creating mobile apps with all the different platforms. Instead it is better to make your website mobile friendly. Andrew Booth and Alison Brettle encouraged librarians to get involved in research. Jacqui LeMay and Anna Brown demonstrated the CEBIS system at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire where clinical questions are attached to patient records. Finally Sarah Sutton reviewed 10 years of clinical librarianship at University Hospitals of Leicester. Her approach of “Which ward round can I come on?” rather than “Can I come on a ward round?” was inspirational. In short it was a day well worth attending and reminded me of what we have achieved in the last ten years and looked to what is possible in the next ten.