Posts Tagged ‘management’

Last week I noticed a spelling error on TCCL’s children’s website, and I finally remembered to mention it to Mr. Escobar two days ago.  I wanted to find out the process for reporting and correcting such an error.

I noticed that on the website under Books & Reading, submenu Find a Good Book, submenu If You Like…, submenu Fractured Fairy Tales, several books by the author Jon Scieszka were listed with Scieszka’s name spelled in a variety of ways.


Based on other misspellings of the name within the TCCL catalog, Mr. Escobar believes the name was spelled incorrectly in the Library of Congress bib record that was downloaded by TCCL years ago.  The Library of Congress bib record has since been corrected, but the error in TCCL’s catalog was missed until now.  Mr. Escobar sent an email to staff members in the IT Dept. and the Cataloging Dept. with a screenshot of the error on the TCCL webpage and a screenshot of the Library of Congress Authority Record for Jon Scieszka.  Some misspellings on the webpage have already been corrected, and hopefully all will be corrected soon. 

Mr. Escobar was very kind to give me credit for the discovery within the email he sent.  He stressed the point that we should always give credit where credit is due, to coworkers and subordinates, in order to make staff feel recognized, valued and appreciated.

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Mr. Escobar has provided many words of wisdom in regards to management philosophy, and how to use psychology to foster good morale.

According to Mr. Escobar, managers should pitch in and assist their employees with heavy workloads.  This boosts morale and fosters a sense of teamwork.  When the carts of books needing to be checked in are piling up, Mr. Escobar chips in with the discharging.  If circ staff are shifting books between carts when Mr. Escobar passes through, he stops to help.  I’ve worked in places where the manager never comes out of his or her office, no matter how overwhelmed the frontline staff are, and working in that environment can be frustrating and draining.  But seeing your boss toiling in the trenches right beside you makes a big difference.

It is very important to be sensitive to the personal styles, physical needs and social and cultural differences of coworkers and employees.  Staff members may observe different holidays, have different dietary restrictions, have transportation issues, physical challenges or health issues, etc.  By being flexible and understanding of varying staff needs, managers can often arrange work schedules and requirements around the needs of staff.  Making such accommodations wherever possible nurtures good morale and team spirit.

Be flexible regarding staff scheduling as much as possible.  It is important for  managers to be sensitive to the personal needs of staff, such as  car trouble, child care issues, vacation requests, personal or family illness, etc.  Be sure sufficient backtime is provided to give staff time to destress and to limit need for taking work home.  Ensure that all staff members get to take the breaks and vacation time they are entitled to.  Paying attention to these things will help to eliminate the common assumption that library staff must be martyrs.

It is important to be careful with humor, because taste in humor is likely to vary widely among staff members.  What is humorous to one person may be downright insulting to another.  Poorly timed humor can destroy relationships between coworkers and make working together uncomfortable at best and impossible at the worst.

When keeping notes for personnel files or reporting incidents to other supervisors, always record/report only unbiased facts explaining who, what, when and where.  Avoid putting an emotional interpretation on these facts.   Avoid recording or reporting other staff members’ accounts of who said and did what; this is heresay.  Only record or report things you have witnessed firsthand.  These guidelines will protect staff members and yourself problems born of incorrect information.

Pay attention to the exisiting work culture.  This will inform the unspoken guidelines for appropriate behavior in regards to humor, interaction with customers, interaction with coworkers, dress code, etc.  For instance, in a small, quiet library where the staff know all their customers by sight, it may be acceptable to look up a customer’s record without requiring the customer to present identification.  In a large, busy library, this is not feasible.  Furthermore, problems may arise if customers are not required to present ID in one library branch, but are required to do so in another branch.  Consistency in policy throughout the library system will help to reduce misunderstandings and complaints about unequal treatment.  Derive clues for expectations of customers and coworkers from the behavior of “old hands.”

As much as possible, managers should avoid making changes too quickly.  Observe conditions before you decide whether change is necessary, and allow changes to take place gradually so that staff may acclimate to the change.  Introduce changes first to staff members most likely to be open to the change.  These individuals may be able to help ease staff through the transition process by helping to sell the value of the changes.

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