Duffy

Evans, G. Edward and Patricia Layzell Ward. Management Basics for Information Professionals, 2nd ed. New York, NY: Neal Schumann Publishers, 2006. 567 p. $65 USD. ISBN-10: 1-55570-586-3. ISBN 13: 978–1-55570-586-2. ∞

Management Basics for Information Professionals, 2nd ed. is the most comprehensive volume that this reviewer has yet seen on the increasingly complex subject of library and related information services management. Updating and in places, substantially reformulating the topics treated in the first edition of Management Basics for Information Professionals, this volume is intended for all streams of information service management, i.e., libraries, archives and similar organizations. Evans and Ward bring vast experience as information service managers to this volume and present it all in a lucid, broadly engaging work that is relevant for managers of all information service areas. While the literature of library and related services management is growing, this work stands alone as the only one volume work in this area.

The organization of the volume is systematic and arranged in four-parts, proceeding from a broad discussion of management principles to specific career advice for an information manager determined to meet those principles. Within each of these four parts, the quality of analysis is very high. The reader is not only led through coherent discussions of relationships among management "schools" and concepts, but also through tensions arising between philosophies and their applications.  The book's table of contents, indexes and figures add great value, but the complexities of the various discussions are especially supported by the use of text boxes which offer, "things to ponder," "key points to remember," "expert" quotations, and "things to remember."  In addition to bibliographies at the end of each chapter, further reading materials are also provided as "launching pads" to deeper and broader perspectives on the chapter's subject.

Part One, "Background" takes the reader through four chapters that provide an overview of what is meant by management, overviews of key management concepts, the challenges of organizational environments, and what is involved in the management of diversity within an information service organization. "Managing Diversity," an entirely new chapter to the second edition, is packed with historical, legal and cultural perspectives. Challenges to the reader throughout the analysis in this chapter include specific advice on the advancement of a diverse workforce, tips on legislative resources available, and opportunities for administrative self-reflection. The chapter on the operating environment presents an intensive and thoughtful tour through first principles of sustainability, including the role played by organizations in the human experience, the dependency for survival on an increasingly complex number of variables, and the risk of organizational failure when managers do not exercise due diligence in the maintenance of organizational health in the midst of change.

Part Two is by far the most substantive, undertaking discussion of the ever-growing suite of management knowledge and skills. Each of the ten chapters separately treats the topics of marketing, innovation and change, decision-making, planning, power, authority/responsibility, delegation, performance management, communication, motivation and leadership. The chapter on the "Planning Process" is highly useful, walking the reader through different planning processes, with a high level of practical detail on the often misunderstood strategic planning process in particular. Both new and veteran managers will benefit from the examples of organizational mission statements, vision statements, goals, policies, objectives and even the strategic planning SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis used by the University of British Columbia's Library system in 2006.

Part Three provides four chapters on "Managing Resources," which takes the reader through what is essential to successful management of human, financial, space and technological resources. The discussion on managing technology offers an excellent summation for a beginning manager (or one who may be intimidated by the rapid change attending technology's impact on information service), particularly in the concluding "Key Points to Remember." Examples of these include technology's role as an access tool, an improver of productivity, and as a time saver. It is the discussion of Human Resource management, however, that the Canadian Information Services Manager, is most likely to find impractical, informed as it is by American legislation and labour models.

Part Four offers an outstanding pair of chapters urging Information Services professionals not to lose sight of their personal career management and provides step-by-step guidance on how to advance their own professional work. Factors that contribute to successful career management, outlined in Chapter 19, include analyses of the importance of practicing time management, self-assessment and appraisal, staying well versed in best practices, and being in touch with the way others think.

This book is recommended for both new and seasoned administrators, supervisors, and managers of all information service organizations. The new edition is also an essential tool for those involved in the instruction of students of the information profession. While the "management basics" are American in focus and application, most examples and analyses are easily transferable, if not exactly applicable, to the Canadian information service landscape. The particular challenges to the library and related services manager presented by greater public demand of accountability, the complexities of technology and the evolution of demographics within the information service environment receive much needed emphasis, especially for the new manager. As stated previously, this is the best one-volume work on all aspects of library and related services' managerial challenges. This reviewer anticipates using it as a "ready reference" tool in her own office.

Jane Duffy, Associate University Librarian, Jane.duffy@dal.ca, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This review copy was provided by way of The OLAStore.  Neal-Schuman titles are distributed in Canada by the OLAStore.  Members of the Partnership (http://www.thepartnership.ca/) will generally receive a discount of 5-10% on most publications. For further information about this title, please visit www.accessola.com/theolastore or contact orders@accessola.com.



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Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research (ISSN: 1911-9593)