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Developing the Next Generation of Library Leaders

ACRL. Jan. 2020. 160p. ISBN 9780838946602. pap. $65. PRO MEDIA
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In a constantly changing academic environment, the skills required of library administrators need to be reviewed and updated regularly. In this qualitative research study, Birrell (associate dean for special collections, Univ. of Arkansas) interviewed 22 assistant or associate deans and created four composite library administrators to illustrate her findings. She proposes ten big ideas: first, developing a career ladder, followed by mitigating the identity crisis created in transitioning from being a domain specialist to an administrator. She recommends learning theory as a theoretical framework, advocates for mentoring staff, and suggests cultivating a personal professional network. Birrell proposes exploring alternative leadership and management models and creating a succession plan. Her final idea is to examine gender-based doubts and look for solutions to foster leadership in diverse groups.
VERDICT Librarians aspiring to administrative positions may find some useful career development ideas. Practical advice such as pursuing an advanced degree early in one’s career and becoming professionally engaged may be helpful in personal career planning.

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