(Really, it was either this picture or a Charles in Charge one.)
Over on the Library Society of the World Friendfeed group, there has been a couple of threads in the last few days about MLS programs and library management. It’s an common complaint that library management courses come up short in preparing MLS graduates for the various rigors of personnel administration. It’s one thing to study patron demographics and assessing collection needs, it’s another to actually deal with patrons who are expressing (sometimes irrational) needs. And let’s not forget the staff that run the desks, shelve the materials, and do all the other necessary tasks to keep the library running, even if they are driving you crazy in the process.
Personally, I’d give these graduate courses some latitude since the library field is so vast and varied that I can’t see any one course covering all of the nuances. However, I think there are some basics of customer service and personnel management that can be addressed in a library management course. This could go a long ways to resolve the seeming disconnect between the coursework and the actual experience.
So, I posed a question to the LSW group and asked what real life management questions should be asked in a MLS/MLIS course. Take a moment to read through and see the variety of issues that my fellow LSW members came up with, everything from managing services to interpersonal relationships between staff.
For this open thread starter topic, there are a bunch of options here. For current graduate students, read through the questions and answer one. For librarians of all varieties, you can do the same OR ask one of your own and see how other answer it. For the lazy, I will link my question based on my library experience combined with some other stories I’ve heard over the years.
You work at a public library. You have a patron who comes in on a regular basis. They are nice and well humored, but tend to monopolize staff time with questions they could easily answer themselves and commentary that can be (for lack of a better term) distracting. Some staff members complain to you about this person because it takes them away from their work for longer period of times than it should; others enjoy getting the town gossip and think this person is just harmless. What do you do, if anything?
As long before, this is an open thread. Anonymous replies are welcome as are comments that on different subjects. Speak your mind!