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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Call for Proposals: Chapters for "Workplace Culture in Academic Libraries." Due August 1

This is a call for proposals for chapters for an upcoming book titled “Workplace Culture in Academic Libraries:  The Early Twenty-First Century.”  This book will be edited by Kelly Blessinger and Dr. Paul Hrycaj of Louisiana State University and published by Chandos Press. 

This book will focus on various aspects of workplace culture in academic libraries from the practitioners’ viewpoint, as opposed to that of the theoretician.  Basic questions the book will be concerned with: What conditions contribute to an excellent academic library work environment?  What helps to make a particular academic library a great place to work?  Articles should focus on actual programs while placing the discussion in a scholarly context.  Each article should minimally have an introduction, literature review, and conclusion.  More research-based articles should also include a problem statement, methodology, and results.  Articles included would be related to the physical environment, the recruitment and hiring process, diversity, retention of quality staff, staff morale, interaction between departments, communication/information sharing, handling of complaints, and management styles conducive to healthy workplaces.   It will be preferable for authors to be current academic librarians, though articles from those who are not current practitioners will be acceptable as long as they are based on previous experience as a practitioner.  
See the reverse side for more information on the potential topics in this book. 
To submit a proposal, please submit the following by August 1, 2011 to Kelly Blessinger at kblessi@lsu.edu:
1)      A one to two paragraph summary of your idea for a chapter
2)      A current curriculum vitae
3)      Citations to current works or a writing sample

Any additional questions can be directed to either editor:
Kelly Blessinger                                                                       Paul Hrycaj
kblessi@lsu.edu                                                                      phryca1@lsu.edu
225-578-8538                                                                          225-578-2629

NOTE:  The details provided are merely suggestions, since the editors don’t wish to constrain the scope of submissions.
Work Environment

1.        Staff input: Case studies from different institutions and their hiring processes: Would likely include a survey instrument sent to university libraries where the author(s) would ask pertinent questions related to their hiring process.

2.        Achieving a diverse workforce: Viewpoints from other academic libraries:  A discussion on diversity is a relevant and important issue in academic libraries.  It could also cover initiatives such as minority resident librarians, committees/task forces to explore diversity improvement, and current practices and guidelines regarding recruiting efforts geared toward diversity.
3.        New Employees: Best practices for acclimating them to the environment: Focus would be on different initiatives such as peer mentoring and what is critical in new employee training.

4.        Physical environment: Why are catalogers always in the basement: Focusing on innovative uses of space for carrying out the various functions of an academic library, such as the information/learning commons, combined reference and circulation desks, multimedia work spaces and labs, use of library space for writing, technology, tutoring, etc. centers.

5.        Staff morale: Interpersonal relations and attitudes: Reward and incentive programs, staff organizations, social committees.

6.        Interaction between departments: Who is that guy:  Ways for improving interdepartmental communication through library retreats, cross-training, presentations, and staff newsletters.

7.        The tenure track:  How it affects the culture of academic libraries: Fighting “us vs. them” attitudes between tenured and non-tenured librarians, support systems for tenure-track librarians.

8.        Mentoring/coaching: Creating pathways: Programs in place to match less-experienced librarians with more experienced librarians to provide personal assistance in their professional development.

9.        Generational differences: What we can learn from each other: How to address perceived weakness in skills development for different generations, how generational differences require adjustments in management styles and incentives, how to best take advantage of experience as well as encourage new ideas.           
10.     Communication and information sharing: Wikis, intranets, retreats, and just plain talking:  Different methods used to encourage communication pathways between staff members to increase awareness, retain knowledge, and prevent duplication of effort.

Management and Leadership for a Healthy Workplace

1.        Advisory groups and faculty governance: Ideas for improving librarian involvement in administrative decisions.

2.        Handling of complaints: What is tolerated, what is encouraged:  Programs and structures in place, both within and outside the library, for dealing with librarian concerns and   problems, including problem behaviors.

3.        Merit raises and salary compression: Their effect on the climate: Reasonable approaches for determining merit raises, how to continue valuing old employees while being able to offer competitive salaries to new employees.

4.        The transparent organization: Keeping staff in the loop: How administrators communicate effectively with staff regarding budget problems, staff changes, evaluation of administrators, etc.

5.        Different management styles: What works, what doesn’t : Effective approaches to and best practices in management in 21st century academic libraries, how to break away from outmoded styles of management.

6.        Adventures in shared management: Models from other universities: Innovations in less hierarchical and most holistic styles of management, how to empower workers by increasing their involvement in management and thereby their ownership of outcomes.

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