Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lean Library Management

Lean Library Management: Eleven Strategies for Reducing Costs and Improving Customer Services
By John Huber
Neal-Schuman, 2011

I'm still making my way through the professional collection. There really are some good books there! I picked this one up to do some research to include in a second edition of my (and Mary Kelly's) book, Making a Collection Count. (Yes, we're gluttons for punishment and we're hoping to update the book with a second edition. More on that later.)

All I can say is: John Huber is a genius. Seriously, if you know this guy, tell him that I am now his biggest fan. This book speaks to me on so many levels! I wanted to cite so much information from his book in ours that I ended up just suggesting it as a companion read.

It is filled with real-world examples, which is great because you can picture your own library in relation to the case studies presented.

 It is also filled with phrases like "performance indicators" and "service performance metrics." Be still my beating heart! I love it. Remember my post about putting the science back in library science? No? Well, here it is. As a profession, we need to pay more attention to metrics. That should excite us, not bore us or strike fear in our hearts!

Huber talks about going deep into the core of processes and service deliveries to find and fix any gaps between where we want to be and where we are. One of my favorite lines (page 44) is: "What you measure drives performance; therefore, what you do not measure must not be important." and its corollary: "What you measure gets most of the attention and therefore drives your priorities." His conclusion? "Based on my travels and discussions with library management and staff I feel comfortable in my conclusion that budgets and circulation are the primary performance drivers of your typical library." (p.44) Yes! Those are exactly the primary performance drivers of a typical library! (Primary, not only drivers.)

Librarians, non-librarian staff members, managers, and library school students need to READ THIS BOOK!

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