PrefaceKnowledge Management, Informational Technologies, and the Academy
The explosive and dynamic environment of informational technology, both in the areas of accessibility and tools, has created a growth market for individuals trained in the techniques of knowledge management. Increasingly, such individuals are referred to as Information Professionals (IPs) although many continue to be trained in traditional Master of Library Science (MLS) programs. These “library” programs are generating highly competent individuals who are well-equipped to work in a variety of information environments. Two of the most highly desired environments for IPs are the public sector and academic settings. Although at first glance these two work environments might appear to be polar opposites, a closer examination reveals that more and more commonalities are present in the information needs, uses, and tools associated with them. As well, these seemingly opposite work environments present similar challenges for the IP that extend beyond mere skill sets. These challenges include seeking diversity in recruitment and retention, finding developmental opportunities, establishing mentoring relationships, and negotiating hierarchical structures. Even though the skill sets and work place issues are similar for IPs in both the public sector and the academy, the academy poses significant challenges in navigating the structure of traditional institutions of higher education. Thus, this book highlights the particular issues that are specific to IPs working in an academic environment.
How This Book is Organized
The text is organized around three topics that relate specifically to the IP and institutions of higher education: Recruitment, Development, and Retention.
The first section highlights recruitment. The articles in this section present a variety of topics related to the often difficult task of recruiting IPs to the academic environment. These topics include the duties and responsibilities of human resource professionals; time-limited appointments and succession planning; diversity; and the vibrant opportunities of area studies librarianship. In chapter 1, Costello and Daugherty describe the results of an exploratory survey given to human resource professionals employed by libraries that belong to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Costello and Daugherty examine how each of the 123 institutional members of ARL define the role of human resource professionals within the library environment. The exploratory study, which consisted of 35 open and closed questions delivered via an electronic survey instrument, had a response rate of 30%. The survey data offers insight into the experience and educational level of human resource professional in an academic library setting, the roles these individuals have in their organization, and the ways in which they interact with the university human resource departments. In chapter 2 Stinehelfer and Crumpton argue that information science professionals need additional management training, beyond what is given in library schools, to be fully prepared to take positions in middle and upper management. The authors offer strategies for using time limited appointments such as internships, residencies, and fellowships to fast track an individual’s managerial training. Stinehelfer and Crumpton offer excellent tips for ensuring that these programs succeed and thereby better prepare new librarians to take on leadership roles in their libraries. Stinehelfer and Crumpton also raise awareness of the need for succession planning in today’s current library environment. In chapter 3, Anaya et al. address both the difficulties of and possible strategies for recruiting diverse library faculty to typically non-diverse populations and subsequently retaining them. Specifically, they detail the diversity recruitment and retention efforts at their home institution—The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. Anaya et al. provide concrete and proven strategies other libraries can modify to fit their own efforts in expanding diversity. In chapter 4, Wu, Cabrera, and Paul address current diversity recruitment and retention initiatives in library schools and offer a case study of San José State University’s (SJSU) School of Library and Information Science. The authors describe the process of applying for federal funding from the Laura Bush 21st Century Library Program and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the recruitment of students of color to the San José State University’s School of Library and Information Science program. The authors also outline strategies for other library school mentoring programs, drawing from their own experience with the management, successes, and challenges of their mentoring program, Librarians of Tomorrow. In chapter 5, Kellsey et al. describe the fellowship program at The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) Libraries that grew from the Committee on Recruitment to the Profession of Academic Librarianship. The fellowship about which they write is for current graduate students at CU who are interested in using their subject expertise within the field of academic librarianship. Based on the results of a survey they administered, Kellsey et al. found the fellowship program to be successful. A key finding was that the majority of the participants were either working in the field or attending library science graduate programs. In Chapter 6, Paganelis raises awareness about the difficulty of recruiting suitable candidates to area studies academic librarianship. Paganelis identifies several barriers, including poor public perceptions of librarianship, inadequacies of the library and information science curriculum, and lack of full-time professional positions. In addition to discussing general recruitment practices that might ease the problem, Paganelis details the recruitment efforts and activities of the Recruitment to the Profession Committee of ACRL’s Western European Studies Section (WESS).
The second section of the book addresses the development of IP skill sets. Without continuing education and professional development opportunities, IPs will stagnate in their profession. This highlights current approaches and models to building and sustaining competencies. In chapter 7, Martens and Hawamdeh explore the evolving and often misunderstood profession of knowledge management. Martens and Hawamdeh contend that the need for knowledge management professions will continue to grow in both the public-sector and the private-sector. Their analysis of job postings for knowledge management professionals examines the elements of locale and qualifications as well as roles and responsibilities. This collection of empirical data provides insight into the potential skill sets that will be required of professionals in the field. In chapter 8, Munde examines the role of human resource management within the work practices and environments of information professionals, with an emphasis on global issues. Munde addresses, specifically, the challenging issues of skills shortages, talent management, shifting demographics, work/life balance, and managing intergenerational and intercultural work groups. Within the discussion of these specific issues, Munde offers concrete suggestions for human resource management professionals who work in the information environment. In Chapter 9, Loya and Sunday discuss the vital necessity of developing and implementing a comprehensive orientation program that addresses the unique organizational cultures of each library. Loya and Sunday’s justification for an increased emphasis on orientation in libraries centers on the key concepts of integration and retention. They address such issues as: turnover, organizational loyalty, team culture, and inclusiveness. Loya and Sunday contend that integration-based orientation programs are key to organizational health and success. In chapter 10, Hensley tackles the problematic instructional situation in academic libraries. Since many librarians are not trained teachers upon entering the academy, Hensley asserts that libraries need to provide training programs for them once they arrive. Specifically, she discusses a peer learning training program that not only facilitates team building but also takes advantage of the expertise of seasoned instructional librarians. Hensley offers practical suggestions for developing teaching skills and provides a list of further readings in pedagogy. In chapter 11, Thornton addresses the often overlooked career development planning of Information Professionals (IPs). To ensure employability and career mobility, Thornton encourages IPs to begin planning their career objectives and goals as early as graduate school. Thornton identifies several key reasons why it is essential for IPs to do such advanced planning; most prevalent among these is the proliferation of free information on the Web. Thornton’s chapter provides specific suggestions for IPs to develop diversified capabilities in order to remain competitive in a rapidly changing information environment. In chapter 12, Rossmann explores organizational culture and group dynamics from the framework of Distributed Leadership, Job Embeddedness, the Bad Apple Concept, and Positive Relationships at Work, sharing case studies and examples of each of these concepts and how they can be applied in an information setting. Rossman nicely details a comparison between organizational culture as a function of management and organizational culture from the perspective of the individual in library and information science curriculum. The authors conclude the chapter with tips on how to use group dynamics and knowledge of organizational culture to recruit, develop, and retain information science professionals.
The final section of the text discusses multiple strategies for retention of IPs. One of the most significant factors in retention is both formal and informal mentoring. This section delves into many of the challenges new IPs face and must overcome while practicing their occupation. Chapter 13 identifies strategies for the effective retention of employees through the careful selection, training, and support of these individuals by library management. Groves and Black address hiring tips and employee orientation strategies that can lead to greater employee motivation and retention. They also address hiring and retention pitfalls, generational differences, and external challenges. Groves and Black conclude their chapter with potential directions for future research. In chapter 14, Golden addresses formal and informal mentoring programs currently available to information professionals, highlighting specific mentoring case studies from three organizations: the Professional Education for Librarians in Small Communities (PELSC); the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Leadership and Management Administration (LLAMA); and the Florida Department of State’s Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute (SSLLI) . Drawing from personal experience with these three programs, Golden addresses successes and failures of mentoring programs, career development strategies, mentor matching, and also mentor/mentee training strategies. Golden’s own mentoring model, the Evolutionary Conscious Model, is outlined with tips on the partnering (pairing) process, program coordination and program sustainability. In chapter 15, Hicks, Buckingham, and Law explore the tension between the roles of mentor and supervisor with a mentee/supervisee. What happens when these lines are blurred? The authors describe some of these challenges and benefits and also offer tips on how to make these relationships successful to both parties involved. Boundaries and the focus and nature of the relationship are addressed as well as role ambiguity. The authors also mention future research directions, specifically highlighting the lack of current literature regarding the impact of mentoring relationships on the supervisee and other coworkers, not just the mentee. Chapter 16 concludes the book with a discussion centered upon how mentoring differs when librarians have or are working toward faculty status in a university setting. Drawing from several formal university library mentoring programs, Brown, Novara, and Williams highlight the challenges and benefits of mentoring librarians who have faculty status and also provide best practices relevant to other mentoring programs with faculty status librarians and to mentoring programs for all librarians seeking a formal or informal mentoring relationship.
These three sections delve into some of the most prevalent and pervasive concerns facing IPs in the 21st century. As technology continues to develop and as public, corporate, and academic work places increasingly adopt similar practices in their management of recruiting, developing, and retaining employees, IPs must raise awareness of their unique skills and circumstances in order to be successful and competitive.