How to be a Good (Library) Boss

by Bahark Yousefi picture-579

Thursday, May 19, 2016

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I am in the business of encouraging librarians to apply for library management jobs. When I come across smart, awesome, politically progressive librarians (which happens with delightful frequency), I try to convince them to consider management. This is not because I think management is the only path forward for these wonderful humans, but because I want more smart, awesome, and politically progressive folks at those tables. I want them there because libraries need to be changing in big, fundamental ways, and right now, as things stand, that’s where the power to push for those changes resides. Often, the librarian (aka my target) will ask me what I think it takes to be a good library manager and my answer, without fail, is “be a decent human being.” Now, as true as that may be, I appreciate that it is not very specific. What follows is an attempt to expand the list, in no particular order:

  1. Be a decent human being (still #1).
  2. Be the kind of boss that tells employees about their rights and then helps them claim and exercise those rights.
  3. Be absolutely committed to transparency. Do not assume that you know what others need/don’t need to know (of course, be mindful of all the legal and ethical stuff).
  4. Have a vision. Care very, very passionately about something and make sure everyone knows what that is.
  5. Make absolutely sure that people who work for you have the resources to do their work. If resources are scarce, then change their work. Do less with less and more with more. Read more…
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