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					                                                    Management Analysis   1




University of Pennsylvania Libraries as an Information Organization:

                  Interview with Andrea Loigman



                           Ionelia Engel

                            07/11/2010

          Info 640: Managing Information Organizations

                   Instructor: Catherine Collins
                                                             Management Analysis     2


                                Table of Contents

Organizational information………………………………………............................................3

   Mission and Goals…………………………………………………………………………4

   Structure Organization…………………………………………………………………….6

Manager’s Information………………………………………………………………………..7

Manager’s Style……………………………………………………………………………….8

Evaluation of the Information Organization…………………………………………………11

Appendix A…………………………………………………………………………………..13

Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………14
                                                                         Management Analysis           3


             University of Pennsylvania Libraries as an Information Organization:

                               Interview with Andrea Loigman



   Organizations have had to adapt over time to new challenges and technologies so they could

carry on with their mission. They have sought to accomplish their goals more expediently,

efficiently, and cost effectively. Taking risks and often giving up on the traditional ways help

organizations stay in business. Organizations that are agile, flexible, and that appreciate people

skills, values, and work are more appropriate to this information and technology age (Giesecke &

McNeil, 2004). Since ‘information’ is the tool used strategically to advance the mission of an

organization, librarians are nowadays called ‘information professionals,’ while the organization

they work for is called an ‘information organization.’ In this report I will look into whether or

not the University of Pennsylvania Libraries (Penn Libraries) meet the definition and objectives

of an information organization, by first analyzing its organizational structure, and then

examining the managerial style of one of its managers.



                                     Organizational Information

   The University of Pennsylvania Library runs as a division of the University of Pennsylvania.

This division includes 15 libraries located around the campus as well as at other sites in the city.

The main offices, including that of the director are in the Van-Pelt Dietrich library center, which

is located on campus at 3420 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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                                         Mission and Goals

   The mission of the library is to support Penn’s academic community and goals, helping

students to “become knowledgeable about the world and the complexities of today’s society,

aware of moral, ethical, and social issues, prepared to exercise intellectual leadership, and

enlivened by the use of their minds (Penn Library Portal).” The libraries at the University of

Pennsylvania make available the resources by which students can develop their critical and

analytical skills, and engage in serious research activities.

   The libraries’ main goal is to meet their users’ information needs, by offering a library that is

“easy to navigate, with services and staff that are reliable and responsive (Penn Library Port).”

Being in agreement with its parent organization, the Penn library’s reason to exist is to help

students to succeed.

   The latest library manual gives a comparison of the Libraries to a human brain, saying that

“the Libraries are a lot like your brain: packed with information and far more powerful than you

realize.” The above citation leads one to infer two reasons for which Penn Libraries system is an

‘information organization/division.’

   First, the library is packed with information. Various resources such as books, journals,

videos, and sound recordings, as well as electronic resources contain and offer access to facts

and figures, data, and information. The main library has a department called Weigle

Information Commons, equipped with computers and other state of the art technologies that

facilitate the access to information. In addition to this however, users are encouraged and

taught to be creative, to write effectively, to speak confidently, and to improve their study and

planning skills.
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   Penn Libraries therefore are far more powerful than one realizes. They do not just make

available reliable resources, but they also provide the tools to explore them. By offering these

tools such as workshops, RSS feeds, IM and chat features, and easy access to the library’s

resources from devices such as iPhones, the Penn libraries agrees with the SLA definition of

Information Organization. This indicates that information organizations are those entities that

deliver “information-based solution to a given market (Abels et al., 2003).”

   Nowadays, librarians use information in their job to advance the mission of the organization.

Abels et al., call them “information professionals (2003).” Do information professionals work

for the Penn libraries? A statement of the vice-provost and director of the libraries, Mr. Carton

Rogers, leads us to think that they do. He says that “we can all begin thinking less like librarians

and more like the captains of industry and the entrepreneurs with whom we are squaring off

every day on the information battlefield (Rogers, 2009).”

   In order to keep up with the fast pace of change in information technology, the staff at Penn

Libraries managed to adapt to these new challenges due to a strong leadership on all levels of the

organization. Understanding and supporting the staff at all levels are crucial, and results in not

only meeting but perhaps exceeding users’ expectations can already be noticed. A good example

of how library services exceed patron’s expectation at Penn Libraries can be understood from

this claim, “with this delivery you have come as close as humanly possible to sending me an

article BEFORE I ask for it. What service, (Ketchum, 2010).” This illustrates what Abel et al.

(2003), identify as responding with a sense of urgency to critical information needs.

   Fast delivery of articles or other materials to users is only one example of the services

provided by the Penn Libraries in today’s information age. Mr. Carton Rogers claims that

“librarians have been fairly aggressive in adapting emerging technologies to support current
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operations,” but he also says that “we haven’t been as good at fundamentally rethinking the way

we structure our organizations (2009).”

                                      Structure of Organization

    I would therefore proceed by taking a look at the structure of the organization.

The University of Pennsylvania libraries’ organizational chart appended at the end of this paper

shows its complexity. It is divided into eleven divisions, which in turn are subdivided into

departments. The departmentalization is done according to the services the library offers. Some

departments such as the Finance and Administration, Human Resources, and Development

concern the organization from within with emphasis on employees, facilities, and finance. The

Public Services, the Departmental Libraries and Resource Sharing, Collection Development and

Management, and Information Processing Center relate directly to users’ needs. Although

departments are interrelated on a horizontal level, the interaction is done more on a hierarchical

level.

    Penn libraries are overseen by a board. The directors of each division report directly to the

vice-provost and the director of the libraries, Mr. Carton Rogers, while the heads of the

departments report to the directors of the respective divisions.

From my interview with the head of Access Services, Andrea Loigman, I came to the conclusion

that the heads of departments have very little interaction with the director of the libraries. They

interact sufficiently with their immediate supervisors, the directors of the divisions, and they

collaborate with their co-equals. Rogers actually admits in his state of the Library address that

there is an element of isolation that comes with his position. He goes on and says that he misses

the regular interaction and give-and-take with staff at all levels of the organization. He often

employs the walking around approach as a management style and tool. (2009).
                                                                          Management Analysis         7


   From my observations and from my discussions with staff, on the other hand, I perceived that

the interaction in this organization takes place vertically between the two adjacent levels that are

linked to each other and horizontally on the same level. For instance, the stacks have a

supervisor who reports to the head of access services. The interaction is first at a lower level

between the clerks and supervisor, and then at a higher level between the supervisor and the

head. Clerks are rarely interacting with the head, and some of the clerks don’t even know whom

the head is reporting to. In the circulation area, on the other hand, the clerks’ interactions with

the head of access services are regular because she directly oversees this department.

   Responsibilities and duties are divided according to divisions and departments. There is

collaboration among the heads of the departments since the same user is serviced by the various

departments. Acquiring materials in a timely matter for their users is one of the goals of the

libraries, and cooperation between interlibrary loan and circulation, for instance, is essential in

achieving this. The Penn Libraries thus follow the collegial model because the organization

meets some of the characteristics of this model.

                                       Manager’s Information

   To get a better sense of how the Penn Libraries along with its staff work, I had the pleasure to

interview, Andrea Loigman, the head of the Access Services department, which is under the

Public Services department. She reports to the director of Public Services, Marjorie Hassen, thus

working on the third tier in the organizational structure. Andrea currently oversees four

departments, circulation, stacks, reserves, and current periodicals/microtext. She has under her

direct supervision the circulation and reserves, and indirectly the stacks, and periodicals and

microtext.
                                                                         Management Analysis          8


   Previously, Andrea worked as the head of stacks and storage management for the Penn

Libraries and as a systems librarian at the PEW Charitable trust. It is here where Andrea gained

her library experience. Working for a small library, she had to do a variety of jobs in addition to

hers, such as reference and circulation. She had not actually supervised anyone while at PEW.

Her managerial experience came from working as a technician in the theater.

   After 15 years of technical work in the theater, Andrea decided to become a librarian thus

enrolled in the library science program at Drexel. This was one of the most important milestones

in her career. Soon after, while still attending Drexel, Andrea Loigman received the position at

PEW, another highlight in her career. Because the library didn’t have an automated system,

Andrea had the opportunity to work with card catalogs and to understand how libraries work as a

complete system. To her this was a great library education, primarily because of the variety of

tasks she performed.

   Once being part of a library, Andrea Loigman became involved in a few local and national

professional associations. She started with the Special Library Association, but that didn’t apply

to her work anymore when she came to Penn Libraries. She has been on couple of ALA

committees, attended the voyager group conference and the Ivies Plus group, and became the

chair of the storage discussion group. While she has found her participation in other professional

activities helpful due to networking and the ability to help others and herself as well, she thinks

that her involvement in some of these activities is not helpful anymore. Apparently, as her

positions and duties have changed, the interest in different associations increased or decreased

accordingly. For instance, Ms. Loigman did not see the ALA conferences as useful as the ‘Ivies

Plus’ group ones since she was appointed as the head of Access Services. According to her, the

ALA is better suited to people in technical services.
                                                                        Management Analysis        9


                                           Manager’s Style

   Andrea has a great deal of respect and admiration for her supervisor, considering her a role

model. In her opinion, Marjorie Hassen has excellent management skills. Ann Snowman,

Andrea’s counterpart at the Pennsylvania State University of Libraries, shares common

management responsibilities. Andrea Loigman admires Ms. Snowman for her thoughtful way of

handling things, and for her incredible balance between theory and practice. To my interlocutor,

finding the balance between theory and practice is somehow challenging. She agrees that it

would be ideal to step back and look at the situation from a theoretical point of view. Although

there are some departments, such as the collection development, where there is much emphasis

on the theory, this however is not possible in most circumstances when it comes to her

department. “Something you thing is best, it is not always possible (A. Loigman, personal

communication, July 9, 2009).” She also claims that it is more difficult to take a theoretical

approach within an organization that is not heavily staffed or when there is not much time at

hand. This is why she prefers a practical way of decision making. She does not necessary favor

a particular management theory, but rather a combination between the contingency and system

theories. She believes that no technique or managerial principle is effective at times, but she also

views the organization as a system of interrelated parts. Emphasis on communications and the

relationship of the individuals and groups are just a couple examples that she implements into

her managerial style (Collins, 2010).

   Andrea Loigman called her managerial style as personal. In her relationship with her staff,

she tries not to take the “mommy” approach in the sense that she does not pursue being liked as a

way to motivate her subordinates. She wants the staff to be able to engage in problem-solving.

Andrea admits that her approach does not always work, but she persists in pushing her staff to
                                                                       Management Analysis        10


achieve that. It is “hard to find a balance between being friendly and being a friend” confessed

Andrea during the interview. One of her staff described Andrea as “cordial, logical and

reasonable (Staff, personal communication, July 9, 2010).” According to this person, sometimes

she imposes and, at time she creates problems if under stress, but most of the time she is a happy,

skillful manager with an authoritative style. She has a firm but fair approach.

   Andrea’s managerial style fits well within this organizational structure, and is suitable for the

department she manages. As the staff I interviewed claimed, “she has the ability to work within

this organization (personal communication, July 9, 2010).”As I mentioned above, the

departments of the University of Pennsylvanian libraries are interrelated horizontally with an

emphasis on collaboration, and Andrea’s way of managing is based also on the system theory,

favoring collaborative work. In fact, in addition to Andrea participating in the few projects that

involve managers and staff from other departments, she asks help from other department to get

“the pieces I need to make it happen (personal communication, July 9, 2010).” By being both

action and thought oriented, Andrea reflects the organizations’ view to be fast, agile, and

flexible. She is the head of Access Services where direct contact with the users requires quick

and attentive responses. She needs to take action when the user demands it at the front desk. On

the other hand, she inquires of students who work at the front desk for input in order to improve

services. She is also able to manage her employees well enough so they will not under perform.

   Andrea Loigman’s managerial style fits this organization primarily because it assists in

advancing its mission. Whether she uses information from informal resources, such as her

employees or student workers, or formal resources such as conferences or meetings, Andrea’s

goal is to meet the users’ needs and to assist them in acquiring knowledge. From her ability to

recognize the importance of people as a key information resource, and to use her expertise in
                                                                       Management Analysis         11


providing offerings that enables users to integrate information in their learning processes, along

with her skill to develop and deliver teaching tools to maximize users’ use of information, makes

Andrea Loigman what Abels et al., calls an “information professional (2003).”

   Information professionals work for information organizations, the entities that use

technology. Based on the definition and objectives of an information organization, I would say

that University of Pennsylvania Libraries does meet its criteria.



                            Evaluation of the information organization

   The definition of the information organizations recognizes libraries as entities that deliver

information-based solutions to a given market. Penn Libraries primarily deal with a generation

that demands the use of information in a fast and wide-reaching way. Mobile pages, designed

specifically for iPhone type devices, are just a feature how the organization uses technology in

order to meet market needs. The Penn Libraries through their information professionals like

Andrea Loigman are able to respond with a sense of urgency to critical information needs. Its

professionals are able to share information among themselves as well as among professionals of

other organizations. Information professionals working for the Penn libraries seem to have the

professionals competencies required and they do meet the personal competencies as Abels et al.,

2003) describe in his article. The Penn Libraries meet many of the requirements of an

information organization, as we discussed above, making this a fast, agile, and flexible

organization regarding users and professionals. There is one aspect however that this

information organization fails to put emphasis on, the “other” employees. Staff, such as clerks

and assistant librarians, is not well informed about new ways in which the organization is trying

to achieve its mission. They are required to performed additional duties and use new kind of
                                                                      Management Analysis          12


technology without any good explanations. Employees then become frustrated and reluctant to

perform their jobs. There is a great deal of cooperation among the professional staff as well as

between the staff and the patrons. The lower level employees however are still ignorant of the

new challenges facing the Penn Libraries. There are people working for decades in the library

and they are used to the traditional way of accomplishing the library’s mission. I believe that

more time and resources should be invested in the education of these employees. All in all, Penn

Libraries is an information organization which strives to keep pace with the challenges

encountered in carrying on its mission.
             Management Analysis   13


Appendix A
                                                                        Management Analysis         14


                                           Bibliography

Abels, E., et al. (2003). Competencies for Information Professionals of the 21st Century (Rev.

       ed.). Retrieved from: http://www.sla.org/PDFs/Competencies2003_revised.pdf

Abrams, S., & Luther, J. (2004). Born with the chip: The next generation will profoundly impact

       both library service and the culture within the profession. Library Journal, 129 (8), 34-

       37.

Collins, C (2010). Lecture 1: Info 640, [Word document]. Retrieved from:

       https://drexel.blackboard.com/webapps/portal

Collins, C (2010). Lecture 2: Info 640, [Word document]. Retrieved from:

       https://drexel.blackboard.com/webapps/portal

Giesecke, J., & McNeil, B. (2004). Transitioning to the learning organization. Library Trends,

       53(1), 54-67.

Ketchum, S. (2010). FacultyEXPRESS Delivery presentation [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved

       from: https://courseweb.library.upenn.edu/webapps/portal

Libraries from A to Z: A Guide to the service, collections, facilities, and staff devoted to your

       information needs (2009). Retrieved from:

       http://www.library.upenn.edu/docs/publications/a2z09.pdf

Penn Libraries Port: Penn online research tutorial. Retrieved from:

       http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/PORT/

Rogers C. (2009, June 8). State of the libraries address. Retrieved from Penn Libraries Staff

       Website: http://staffweb.library.upenn.edu/news/stateoflib09.pdf

University of Pennsylvania Libraries (2010). The library manual.

				
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