Library School – Management Module

A much belated two-part series on modules I completed in Semester 1 (Autumn 2014) of library school. Here is my previous post explaining generally about the course.

I really enjoyed this module, called Management in the Information Environment. I came to it having zero management experience, so I definitely had a lot to learn. The module covered topics you’d expect like managing change, project management, HR and communications, marketing and finance. I think all of these could probably be a class all on their own, so we were getting more of an overview. It was useful to learn about how to assess external influences (using a PEST analysis), create strategy and the various types of organisational structures. The set text was Managing Information Services (3rd edition) by Jo Bryson. This was good and very thorough, but the lack of real world examples or case studies in the book was a major negative, especially for someone like me who was new to the whole subject. However I was also to get a hold of another recommended book, Charles Handy’s Understanding Organisations, which was in a more readable style and included many examples.

Probably one of the most interesting aspects of the module was the discussion board posts we were encouraged to write on certain topics. Many of the other students are/were in management positions, so it was interesting to hear their take on  topics such as the pros/cons of staff appraisals. For the project management bit, we had to complete a practical exercise using Microsoft Project, which I can see being useful for the future. The marketing section covered the essentials, the Four P’s, market segmentation, etc. The assignment was an analytical report assessing the organisation where you worked or one you were familiar with. I actually really enjoyed doing this assignment because it involved a lot of research and thinking critically about your workplace. Reading the literature gave you ideas which could then possibly be applied in real life because I spent time considering my organisation and what we’re doing. So it was quite a reflective piece of work and I think I learned and will retain more from completing the assignment than from the coursework itself.

Another LIS student’s (Carla Harwood @tribigild) experience of a management class in the USA was an interesting read. I like how their lecturer was a working senior manager herself and former ALA (American Library Association) president. Part of the weekly class was talking about her work week which seems like a great way to learn about management work day to day. I also appreciated the value of one of their assignments, a ‘management consultancy project,’ where the remit was to help a manager solve a real world management problem. As Carla writes, it was good because it was about much more than submitting a piece of work for the module. You were getting some real world experience solving a real world library problem.

My next post will be on the Hypermedia module and all things techy.

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