Tim Coates takes it to the streets. Well, Readers’ Digest.
Management is one of his regular targets. He feels there’s too much of it, and that it adds an unacceptable cost burden. Also, ‘managers’ are seen to be distant and distanced from the public.
What can be done? Well, firstly it is not a universal problem. In my authority professional librarians do work issue desks, enquiry points and they do shelve and tidy. As do I in my college.
That said, where there is too much management, how can it be efficiently and sensitively bought to a more effective level?
As hinted by one correspondent, there could be a return to City Librarians. One Librarian to represent the service to the council and the public.
Other librarians would work in strategic positions- planning, purchasing etc- but would also take responsibility for branches. This could be achieved by redploying librarians working in purely ‘back office’ functions. In some areas, librarians could rotate round a circuit of libraries, as they do in Brum.
There will still need to be time for strategic thinking and planning; a total removal of back office functions will not lead to an improved service. However, deploying more qualified librarians for more time to the ‘front line’ will. Savings on ‘top-heavy’ management, if they can be made, will lead to more money which if given to libraries for that purpose would lead to improved stocks.