On a + note


How to stop a library in its tracks. #43: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on December 12, 2011

When I write the definitive textbook on public library management (as if I would ever be organized enough to write a textbook), there will be a chapter called “How to Stop a Library in its Tracks.” Because often, it is more valuable to understand what not to do.

It would begin something like…

“There are basically three things a library manager can do to instantly stop the library in its

tracks, reduce productivity, and generally waste time.”

  1. Mess with the coffee in the staff room. This includes changing the coffee brand, moving (or hiding) the coffee maker, or forgetting to turn on the coffee. Mess with the staff’s coffee supply, and the library will come to a screeching halt.

I have never quite understood the whole morning coffee thing. At one library, after numerous requests to turn off the coffee machine at the end of the day (to avoid burning down the building), I hid the coffee machine. The next morning, there was pandemonium. Hours later, staff got a procedure in place, and the coffee machine magically reappeared from under my desk!  The lesson I learned…don’t muck with staff coffee; it is a huge time waster.

  1. Take an employee’s parking space. This includes co-workers parking in a designated parking spot or even randomly changing where they normally park. Noting disrupts employees like taking their parking spot!
  1. Move employee desks. This is the quickest way to bring the library to a standstill. Move, suggest moving, or even mention moving someone desk, and you can feel the organization grind to a halt.  Move a worker’s desk an inch or across town, and the disruption and loss of productivity is frightening .If you are planning to rearrange a work area do it as quickly as possible. The more time staff has to discuss who gets the window and who has a larger work area, the more disruptive it becomes. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING stops a library in its tracks quicker than moving employee desks!

There you have it: the first chapter in my imaginary public library management textbook.

Have a great week!

Kitty Pope                                                                                     #44 December 2011
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca

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