ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT
LIS 240 - Management of Libraries and Information Centers
Dr. Rajesh Singh
The completion of the course LIS 240: Management of Libraries & Information Centers has prepared me to work effectively at the individual and organizational level. The readings, online discussions, and written assessments have taught me how to apply the management theories, techniques, and practices in any type of information setting. This course focused on those management skills and competencies that information professionals require for managing their organizations, including planning, organizing, leading, influencing, budgeting, and implementing change (Singh, 2016). The concepts and theories learned throughout this course and the artifacts discussed below validate my proficiency in the 8th ALA Core Competency – Administration and Management.
The final project for this course, and artifact for this competency, was to create and present a relevant, thoughtful, and creative strategic plan for a real or fictional library or information organization by applying the knowledge of management concepts, tools and techniques. The purpose of this assignment was to sharpen our leadership and management skills in establishing the future direction for a library or information organization. As Dr. Singh stated organizations are increasingly dependent upon self-managed employee teams. The ability to work in a team, including influencing the team in the right direction may determine the success of our professional careers (Singh, 2016).
In order to complete this project I was paired with two other students; Rio Khristy Aucena and Diana Carillo. We decided to create our strategic plan for a fictional library located in a fictional town. I’ve never heard of a strategic plan so a lot of this was very new for me. The research and the readings provided to us by Dr. Singh allowed my team members and myself to discuss key theories, concepts, and practices in relation to effective management of information organizations. We examined human resource management principles and functions to supervise and evaluate our fictional staff performance. Through this group work, I was able to create alignment between my vision and the execution of my strategies, and establish a plan from which my team’s future decisions could easily flow. Our final document demonstrates our understanding of how managers use strategic thinking in strategic planning, decision-making, and organizational communications. The process of which we completed the strategic plan allowed me to explore the concepts behind, and methods for, assessment and evaluation of library services and their outcomes. I also understand the principles of planning and developing a line-item budget, and creating recommendations for future action in libraries and other information agencies.
As I mentioned above, I’ve never worked on, or even heard of, a strategic plan before this assignment. However, I did not just focus my attention on completing the assignment itself, I also focused my attention on the process by which my team accomplished the assignment. This included the interactions among the members of my team and the processes by which we accomplished our goals. Working with Rio and Diana really allowed me to improve my decision-making, communication, conflict and negotiation skills. We discussed our own managerial strengths and weaknesses, which were determined by taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test early in the semester, and identified ways in which our personal managerial and leadership skills may be further developed. Though we had decided that there would be no leader of the group, I volunteered to be the team facilitator, which quickly turned into a leadership position. Throughout the duration of the project I assigned sections to my group members, made edits, designed the final document and PowerPoint presentation, and submitted the documents. While I did not mind taking on this responsibility, it was challenging, as my group members and I never met physically. While I have worked on group projects with distance learners in the past, this was the first time in which we utilized video conference tools to hold our meetings and discuss what we wanted to work on for our final project. We not only had weekly discussions but we also sent email updates and texted frequently in order to make sure we were all on the same track. We also used live documents, Google Docs and Sheets, in order to streamline the process of writing our final paper, which really reduced room of error and allowed our final document to be a cohesive and well-written document. I think my experience in this course has definitely strengthened the knowledge and skills of effective teamwork at the unit and organizational level in information organizations. I learned best practices for teamwork that will serve me well throughout the rest of my DLIS program, as well as in professional career.
Singh, R. (2016). Course syllabus LIS 240 management of libraries & information centers spring 2016 [Course handout]. Division of Library and Information Science, St. John’s University, Queens, NY.