November 23, 2017

Professional Media

By LJ Staff

Giesecke, Joan & Beth McNeil. Fundamentals of Library Supervision. 2d ed. ALA. 2010. 189p. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-0-8389-1016-0. pap. $55.

It’s not unusual for librarians to be promoted into supervisory positions without the benefits of a role model, a good mentor, or even a halfway decent management class in graduate school. This book can help. The early part of the volume is the strongest; here the authors give advice on how to build relationships with bosses, peers, and reports; establish good communication skills; create a healthy work climate; motivate others; and build a team. Giesecke and McNeil make good use of some of the classics of management literature, notably Lee Cockerell’s Creating Magic: Ten Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney. Each chapter includes a succinct bibliography, allowing the new manager to continue his or her education—especially useful for more complex topics like project management. Entirely new to this edition, in addition to revised text throughout, are the web extras: checklists, sample scripts, and forms that can be downloaded, filled out, and printed with Adobe Acrobat.—Brian Kenney (BK), School Library Journal & Library Journal

Hill, Chrystie. Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community. ALA. 2009. 176p. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-0-8389-0987-4. pap. $48.

Seasoned public library managers might be tempted to dismiss this book, thinking that they are already well versed in many of its topics (such as performing a needs assessment, developing a strategic plan, and marketing and evaluating services). That would be a big mistake. For what Hill (director of community services, WebJunction) offers is nothing less than a holistic vision for public libraries in the United States, centered on the library’s ability to create community. She adroitly draws on scholarship and research, examples and interviews, to create a plan for libraries that is as sharply focused as it is quietly urgent. By succeeding even more as community builders, libraries, Hill believes, can become sustainable—meaning that the public can’t live without them. Public librarians would do well to use this book as a roadmap, at least for the next decade.—BK

Reed, Sally Gardner & Jillian Kalonick for the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF). The Complete Library Trustee Handbook. Neal-Schuman. 2010. 141p. ISBN 978-1-55570-687-6. pap. $55.

Useful for any trustee—and especially any new trustee—this handbook covers the basics (fund-raising and advocacy, relationship between the board and the director, strategic planning) in a clear and straightforward fashion. And one would expect no less from the executive director (Reed) and the marketing/ public relations specialist (Kalonick) of ALTAFF. While attention is given to successful boards, it would have been useful to get advice on how to transform underperforming boards, from the divisive to the disengaged to the micromanaging. Reed and Kalonick must have great stories to tell as well as individuals to interview. More varied content, different points of view, and fresh voices would have transformed a useful reference book into a must-have for trustees. What’s puzzling is why this is being published and not just distributed as a PDF as a benefit of ALTAFF membership.—BK

Vogel, Brenda. The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century. Scarecrow. 2009. 296p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-0-8108-5403-1. $60.

This serves as a revised edition of the author’s Down for the Count: A Prison Library Handbook (1995), in which she wrote about prison libraries as fundamental parts of the correctional system. Now, referring to her own former experiences as Coordinator of Maryland Correctional Education Libraries, Vogel instructs fellow prison librarians on how to function in this environment. How does a librarian put together a viable book collection considering the censorship imposed by the prison authorities? How does he/she adjust to the watching, the listening, as well as the being watched that is a part of the culture? How can one keep one’s sanity when the logic of the prison environment would be considered outrageous in the outside world? Most of all, how can the librarian best make a difference in the lives of the inmates for whom the library is the only acceptable escape from their grim surroundings? Vogel gives her answers to these and other questions in 15 succinct chapters. Although her book is directed at prison librarians, she also gives the general reader a poignant glance at what it is like to work in a prison. Highly recommended for correctional, public, and academic libraries.—Frances Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Fac. Lib., Stormville, NY

The Tech Set

Billed by Neal-Schuman as "the most important library technology release of the year, The Tech Set, to be copublished by the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), will consist of ten volumes, described as "fast-paced field guides," designed to enable even financially constrained libraries to implement new technologies efficiently. The specific volumes, with Ellyssa Kroski as series editor, are Marshall Breeding’s Next-Gen Library Catalogs, Jason Griffey’s Mobile Technology and Libraries, Robin M. Hastings’s Microblogging and Lifestreaming in Libraries, Sean Robinson’s Library Videos and Webcasts, Lauren Pressley’s Wikis for Libraries, Sara Houghton-Jan’s Technology Training in Libraries, Cliff Landis’s A Social Networking Primer for Librarians, Steve Lawson’s Library Camps and Unconferences, Kelly Czarnecki’s Gaming in Libraries, and Connie Crosby’s Effective Blogging for Libraries. Each title is accompanied by author podcasts and a regularly updated wiki. Publishing on April 30th, the set lists for $550, with a prepublication price of $385. Each volume is $55. Look out for LJ‘s reviews to come.—Ed.

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