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An Exploratory Study of Libraries and Their Managers: Management Education for Leaders of Non-Traditional Businesses

Maureen Mackenzie and James Smith

(Submission #7)


Where do library directors, and the librarians who perform various management functions as part of their work, receive their management training? A review of the curricula of 48 library school programs accredited by the American Library Association revealed that, for the most part, library managers need to be trained on the job. This paper presents the results of an exploratory study focused on the research question: Do ALA accredited library education programs properly prepare library students to enter management level positions within the library profession? Of the 48 programs reviewed, 43.8% did not require a management-related course within its degree requirements. And 81.3% of the programs did not require an internship. A review of program syllabi revealed that only 58.3% of the management courses included human resource management and only 54.2% included strategy, planning and process. The data resulting from this study also suggests that some library schools have a clear vision that management training is needed and they have made a range of courses available to meet that need. Other library programs offer little choice of coursework for those interested in traditional management preparation. Five of the programs provide neither required nor elective management courses. Sixteen of the forty-eight programs require only one traditional management-related course. The results offered evidence that the library profession has not yet agreed upon the requirements for preparing future librarians for managerial positions. It is suggested that the accreditation requirements be reviewed with an eye toward revision, in order to better prepare library school students for the role of manager.

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