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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Strategic Priorities and Change in Academic Libraries
by Casey, Anne Marie, Ph.D., Simmons College, 2011, 452; 3467461
Abstract (Summary)

Academic libraries exist in an atmosphere of changing resources, stakeholder expectations, technologies, and scholarly publishing. Library directors, such as those investigated for this dissertation, demonstrate effective management and leadership practices that result in the maintenance of organizational core priorities and continuous incremental improvement during periods of turbulence.

Library managers can use strategic priorities as a guide in decision-making and planning in response to external change such as the recession of 2007-2009. During this financial crisis, there was no indication about the ways library directors used strategic priorities as a framework for these decisions. This dissertation addresses that issue through a multiple case study, which examined three public academic libraries in California and Michigan to determine the role of priorities in response to the recession. Analysis of data reveals that directors of these libraries, who practice everyday leadership, use priorities to shape their planning and decision-making. In addition, library personnel understand that the priorities offer a shared framework and focus on the core mission.

Several themes also emerge. One is open communication and transparency that fosters a culture of trust. Strong communication contributes to a confidence that enables personnel to continue performing under difficult circumstances. Another theme in the cases is employee participation. Librarians and staff are empowered to contribute to the management of the organizations through committee, team, and department work.

This study demonstrates the value of effective strategic planning and provides models of the practice of managerial or everyday leadership. It indicates the importance of the alignment of library planning to institutional planning as well as cultures of open communication, employee participation, and adaptive leadership to academic libraries. Academic library senior managers and university administrators will be interested in the results as examples of effective strategic planning, leadership styles, and of the types of library culture that support continuous improvement, even during difficult circumstances.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hernon, Peter
School: Simmons College
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Library science
Keywords: Academic libraries, Communication, Employee participation, Leadership, Priorities, Strategic planning
Publication Number: 3467461
ISBN: 978-1-124-79868-4
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