- is “like swimming, cannot be learnt by reading about it.”
by Henry Mintzberg
Librarian’s role of leadership in the library environment has been reinforced again and again in the MLIS study context nowadays. There is also the talk that once a person has obtained the MLIS degree, he or she should be ready to take a supervising role at the first job. Notwithstanding Mintzberg’s statement that leadership could not be learnt by reading but by practicing, the importance of leadership and management for MLIS candidates is recognized and reinforced ever since they enter the program.
A leader is a person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal. A leader or manager is not someone who could work on his or her own. Leadership is about coordination, communication, team work, and cooperation. A good manager knows his or her responsibility to make effective use of the human, financial and all the other available resources to meet the organization’s goals and objectives. He or she also knows his or her role to inspire other group members, to take care of their interests and to solicit best practices from them.
Communication is an essential character for the leaders, because they are the joint part of the organization, communicating administrative decisions from upper senior levels to front line workers as well as reporting feedback from bottom to up. Time management is another important character for managers, as there are usually many tasks and projects undergoing at different stages. A good time management skill ensures strategic control of progressing and also the completion of each one of them. Leaders and managers need to deal with different parties both within and outside of the organization. In many cases, the ability and skill to maintain good public relations make it much easier to complete different aspects of jobs and to present satisfactory results and performance.
My knowledge and skills on management and leadership are acquired in LIS 504 Leadership and Management Principles for Library and Information Services, and one of the LIS 598 one-credit courses, Project Management. During the first one, I was exposed to various theories and principles on managing different parts of a library and information organization. I also had a chance to explore the possibility of outsourcing different library services, by comparing the benefits and defects associated with it and trying to draw up plans for different library settings. As a final group project, I worked with another two partners to come up with a program plan and tried writing a grant proposal for a library programming for immigrants. The Project Management course turned out to be a very practical one, by lecturing on tools, skills, and templets used for managing specific library project. It went from planning a project, writing project plan, carrying out the tasks and project audit, to managing personnel, financial and all the other available resources for the project.
Links to Assignments: