Associate Dean and Director ALA Salt Lake City, Utah
Change is one of the few constants in academic libraries. There are shrinking budgets, new initiatives, advances in technology, expectations of parents and students, and other pressures from both inside and outside the institution. In response to these pressures, library administrators may reorganize duties and departments to accomplish new goals while reducing or eliminating other library services. Both during and after a planned change, employees respond in a wide variety of ways, ranging from acceptance and positivity to anger and resistance.
Research and theory on change management, systems thinking, and organizational psychology offer us tools, recommendations, and insights into human nature that can be enlightening. There are many books and articles on the art of implementing and managing change, dealing with resistance to change, and having difficult conversations with those affected and disaffected by change. Sorting through all of this information to pull out pieces that will work for supervisors within academic libraries can be challenging since each change process has nuance and each institution has cultural differences and unique individuals. Selected pieces of theory and practice will be highlighted that will enable a supervisor to understand the point of view of those being managed. Utilizing these best practices can lead to better results, less upset, and more work toward stated goals. Fortunately, tools and practices work in a variety of settings with many different personality types.
Case studies from several change processes in an academic library in a research institution will be reviewed as excellent examples of failures and successes. A new way to think of resistance will enable the use of that energy toward positive change. Insights into what is typically expected when we receive transparency from supervisors and when we are asked to give feedback will increase an understanding of resistance. The audience will be asked to consider hypothetical conditions and apply new knowledge and skills to these situations. There will be opportunity for large group discussion as well as paired conversation and sharing of initial ideas. Concepts presented will be most useful to anyone in a supervisory role. The audience will learn best practices for change management in the complex organizational structure of an academic library.
Describe systems theory according to Barry Oshry in order to understand typical organizational dynamics and to understand how they personally contribute to current dynamics.
Define important concepts of feedback and transparency in order to reconsider how these terms are used in day-to-day work.
Learn steps for holding effective difficult conversations in order to make progress toward stated goals and hold others accountable.