I am a life long lover of libraries - that is why I am knee deep in a staff/management conflict at the one I used to work for. Top management has adopted a toxic management style that has resulted in multiple resignations, retirements, and unhappy separations. Many of those who are left standing are afraid to speak up because they wonder who will be next.
Libraries are more than buildings, books, and technology. Without the people, there is no library. I spent three years working closely with the exceptional staff and I know these are folks who care deeply about the services they provide to the community. Not everyone is equally skilled or motivated and many have personality quirks (who doesn't). The key to working with such a group is not clearing out the old and bringing in the new. The key is having the patience and the humility to get to know the staff and then build on their strengths.
The true test of leadership is not the initial honeymoon stage when everything seems to look bright and everyone is hopeful. The true test is when there are challenges that can bring out the dark side in an individual or organization. In this adverse economic climate, an organization can either pull together or pull itself apart. These difficult times require creative and compassionate leadership.
Some of us on the outside who care about the library and the people who work there alerted the board of trustees about low staff morale several weeks ago. A few tiny signs of progress have appeared since then, but there is still no safe way for the staff to speak up and air their valid concerns.
It is time for "tough love" at this library.
Comment Guidelines: I am a firm believer in freedom of information so I welcome your comments, but because there is no desire to damage the reputation of either the library or the people who work there, please to not refer to the library or individuals by name. Perhaps this could be a forum that will help foster understanding, create positive change, and result in reconciliation.