Thursday, March 04, 2004

Building a Learning Organization @ Your Library This article is from MLA Forum which is the online journal of the Michigan Library Association. It focuses on public libraries but the underlying theme of having a library which is a "learning organization" would apply to any library setting.

From the article:

"Encouraging staff members to be personally involved in the community is another important step in bridging the gap between library and non-patron. Staff members should volunteer with local non-profit organizations like literacy coalitions and local schools. These informal methods, combined with regular needs assessments, will provide your library with the insights needed to ensure its continued growth and vitality."

"It is also important for librarians to get involved in professional organizations as Margaret Auer, dean of University Libraries at the University of Detroit Mercy, emphasized to a graduate class of library professionals at Wayne State University. According to Auer, being involved in professional library organizations allows you to give back to the profession and "gives you an opportunity to build a network of other library professionals that you can call on when you have an issue or problem you want to think through. Meeting and working with personnel from other libraries also allows you to learn different approaches to working with patrons, how others approach technology or technical issues, how people deal differently with personnel issues, and the list of information you can gather is unlimited." The only cost to the library is support for employees' involvement and time away from the desk to attend meetings."

"Creating a library that is truly a learning organization takes leaders with vision - a vision of a library where communication, information, respect, and ideas circulate as freely as the air. It also takes commitment - commitment to the people, the institution and the community. It will cost an organization time and money, but as Cetwinski (2000) says, "The rise in job satisfaction and retention is well worth it. As we acquire new skills and ideas, we become more interested in our work. We raise confidence levels, which prepare us for future responsibilities within the organization. We take ownership in our work and are more likely to feel a loyalty to the organization" (¶ 12). In short, we become the very best librarians we can be."

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