UCLA IS Senior Fellows Alumni Publish Book on “Academic Library Management”

Case studies outline successful academic library management - and coping with change - in the real world.

Three alumni of the UCLA Senior Fellows Program have co-edited “Academic Library Management: Case Studies,” published by the American Library Association. Tammy Nickelson Dearie (’86, MLS), interim University Librarian at UC San Diego; Elaine L. Westbrooks, university librarian and vice provost for University Libraries at UNC Chapel Hill; and Michael Meth, associate dean of Research and Learning Services at the Florida State University Libraries, completed the 2014 Senior Fellows Program, a biennial program in the UCLA Department of Information Studies. The book’s co-editors have drawn upon their collective experience as librarians and administrators at major research institutions to present a comprehensive picture of successful academic library management for students, instructors, and practitioners alike.

Tammy Nickelson Dearie (’86, MLS), Interim University Librarian at UC San Diego. Courtesy of Tammy Dearie

“Research libraries share many similarities, but also co-exist on campuses that are varied by region, funding sources, goals, and reputation,” says Dearie. “Using case studies to examine issues allows librarians from all types of libraries learn from others.”

Through case studies of major academic libraries, the book examines how to manage radical change by using project management methodology to reorganize technical services, create a new liaison service model, engage in on-the-spot mentoring, and foster a collaborative environment. The co-editors and their contributors reject “one-size-fits-all” solutions in favor of creative problem solving in regard to shared governance, academic library funding, shared collections, archival apprenticeships, and library closure. Key issues such as digital planning for archives and special collections, human resource planning, public relations, financial management, organizational culture and ethics and confidentiality are also discussed in the book’s chapters.

Elaine Westbrooks, University Librarian and Vice Provost for University Libraries. Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill

“Research libraries are complex and complicated and require a workforce that can change,” notes Westbrooks. “For leaders, managing that change is daunting and resource-intensive. This book is useful with its first-hand account of people and organizations dealing with change.”

Dearie leads advances in digital innovation and preservation efforts at UC San Diego, and is a proponent of copyright protection in the digital age. She is a member of the editorial boards for the Journal of Access Services and the Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery and Electronic Reserve.

“The MLS program at UCLA – now the Masters of Information Studies –  prepared me for librarianship through a robust program of research and practice in all areas of academic librarianship, from a newly minted librarian to administration and management skills that would be needed in all levels,” she says.  “The program focused on developing a knowledge base from which to begin a career and a focus on librarians as part of the larger knowledge network, to remain relevant in the field as universities and libraries adapted to new ways of preserving, reproducing, and re-imaging what a library is and can be.”

Dearie says that her experience in the Senior Fellows Program, “was instrumental in developing leadership skills, strategic thinking, and allowed me to explore practical and theoretical approaches to issues academic institutions and libraries are facing now and in the future.”

Meth’s portfolio includes responsibility for the Learning Commons (undergraduate services), Scholars Commons (graduate and faculty services), and STEM Libraries as well as the Assessment and Engagement units of the University Libraries at FSU. He says that the Senior Fellows Program “was a wonderful opportunity to come together with a group of like-minded leaders in libraries and to examine and develop our own leadership philosophies.”

Michael Meth, Associate Dean of Research and Learning Services, Florida State University Libraries. Courtesy of Michael Meth

Westbrooks is responsible for the leadership and administration of the University Libraries; which includes a collection of over 8 million volumes with 275 staff and over 300 student employees. She is the co-editor of “Metadata in Practice,” published by ALA. She says that the idea for “Academic Library Management” was inspired by UCLA IS Professor Beverly Lynch when she and her co-editors were in the Senior Fellows Program.

“In conversation with Professor Lynch, who leads the program, it became clear that many of us felt that we had much to learn from each other,” says Meth. “As a result, she challenged us to think about compiling case studies of our experiences and finding a way to share the experience with others.”

Meth says that he and his co-editors hope that “Academic Library Management” will become an invaluable tool for both students and working professionals in the library fields.

“We hope that this book is just the beginning of a conversation that we’d like to continue with others who are interested in sharing their experiences,” he says.

The co-editors of “Academic Library Management” invite readers to contact them at casestudiesinlibrarianship@gmail.com.