A Starter’s Guide for Academic Library Leaders: Advice in Conversation

This book came out of exactly the kind of conversation you want to be having with your colleagues when you are faced with challenges in a new position. Dustin Fife introduced me to Martin Garnar by Facebook chat back in early 2017 when we were all fairly new in our new leadership roles (I’d been a dean at MUW for six months at that point). That chat turned into a Skype session that turned into a three-part series in College & Research Libraries News, “New Academic Library Leader Discussion Series.” Then at ALA Mid-Winter 2018, after receiving positive feedback about the series, we thought it would be exciting to explore the topic in book form. We really wanted to explore and learn more from more senior leaders in the field. We hoped, I think, to both find solace in commiserating and to learn from those that had gone before us. What we discovered in A Starter’s Guide was that the issues that preoccupied us seemed to be universal tangles. Chapter topics that sounded dry at first, like “Building, Renovation, and Facilities,” we found rife with complex staffing issues and university politics. This blog will focus on some of what we’ve learned along the way, along with providing a forum for ongoing discussion to keep the Advice in Conversation going.

Amanda Clay Powers