Methodological foundations of the management of library and information activities


In the conditions of an open democratic society and entrepreneurial activity in Russia, an objective need arose to change the management paradigm. To change the current situation, it is necessary to search for new approaches to managing this requirement to the greatest extent meet the theory and practice of modern management.

The active interest in management reflected the urgent need for libraries to form a new class of specialists who are capable of solving the most complex problems of modern library management. The specifics of the tasks to be solved predetermined the special role of the head of the library. This is a professional manager with special knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of managerial activity.

Currently, the concept of “manager” has gained a strong position in the professional environment. An increasing number of libraries are replenished with young energetic managers.

Methodological foundations of the management of library and information activities

The methodological study of innovative approaches to the management of library activities is an important stage, because the most holistic concept that reflected the transition to a new management paradigm has become library management.

The authors of the concept are I.M. Suslova, V.K. Klyuev, I.K. Dzherelievskaya, E.V. Klepper, Yu.F. Chernyakova and others. Appeal to management is not accidental. It was in management almost half a century ago that the crisis factors of rationalistic management models were comprehended, and also, which is very important, conceptual approaches to organizing effective management were formed in the face of unprecedented dynamics and complexity of changes in the information era.

Management stood out as an independent field of knowledge, a science that has its own subject, its own specific problems and approaches to solving them, in the 20th century.

The scientific foundations of this discipline are presented in the form of concepts, theories, principles, methods and control systems. Management as a science focuses its efforts on explaining the nature of managerial work, establishing a connection between cause and effect, identifying factors and conditions under which the joint work of people is both more useful and more effective. The definition of management as a science emphasizes the importance of orderly knowledge about management. They allow not only to carry out operational management, but also to predict the development of events and, in accordance with this, develop the strategy and policy of organizations. Therefore, management develops its own theory, the content of which is the laws and regularities, principles, functions, forms and methods of purposeful activity of people and management processes.

At the same time, management is widely understood as the art of management practice. This understanding is based on the fact that each organization is a complex socio-technical system, which is influenced by numerous and diverse factors of both external and internal environment. Therefore, management is an art that can be learned through experience and which only people who have a talent for this master perfectly. Managers must learn from experience and modify subsequent practice accordingly, taking into account the conclusions of theory. This approach allows you to combine the science and art of management into a single process that requires not only constant replenishment of scientific knowledge, but also the development of personal qualities of managers, the ability to apply them in practical work.

The active study of management theories has a stimulating value for all aspects of modern librarianship. On the one hand, opportunities open up to assess the significance of the main methodological positions developed in the traditional scientific areas of library science. For example, the systematic approach developed in the theory of Yu.N. Stolyarova, N.S. Kartashov. Undoubtedly, the theory of library network organization, substantiated by N.S. Kartashov. On the other hand, new problems arise here that require special methodological study. This applies to the development of strategies, the management of innovation processes, the creation of adaptive organizational structures, and the socio-psychological aspects of library management.

Forming a new concept in the categories of management, its authors refer to the definitions of the basic concepts accepted in science, which emphasizes the organic relationship between the problems of modern library management and management. The term “library management” is used to denote both a special area of library activity and a special scientific discipline that sets the task of studying this area and developing practical recommendations for its improvement.

As a library activity, management has many aspects, but in its main part this activity is aimed at creating, ensuring the functioning and development of the library in order to achieve certain goals.

As a scientific discipline, management is represented by a set of empirical knowledge (accumulating a variety of managerial experience and obtained by special scientific methods) and a wide range of concepts that reveal and model various aspects of managerial activity.

The application of the theoretical and methodological positions of management in the transformation of library management does not at all mean a mechanical process of transferring the experience of Western countries. This is a creative search for new management solutions, due to the objective nature of the complex and ambiguous processes taking place in the library sector.

The formation of the concept of library management was marked by significant results. A scientific school has been formed, within which a large number of publications have been published and dissertations have been defended.

The main argument in favor of the new concept is the widespread use of the principles and methods of management in the practice of managing library activities, which is greatly facilitated by the orientation of management towards solving practical problems.

It should be emphasized that the terms “management” and “management” are synonymous only in common vocabulary. In the professional terminological system, the meaning of the concepts that make up the content of the terms “library management” and “library management” is different. Management has a broader meaning, since it includes technical and technological objects, economics and management. In the designation of a management methodology that uses the principles of management in organizing the joint activities of people aimed at achieving the goals of the library, the term “library management” will be more accurate. The meaning of the introduction of a new term lies in the desire to designate innovative management phenomena.

Moreover, the research logic of foreign library science in developed countries, based on the analysis of a fundamentally different situation in which modern libraries operate, is characterized by similar trends. These trends are expressed in the rejection of the rationalistic paradigm of library management and the transition to an empirical, marketing management model. Just as in Russian library science, the term “library management” in foreign science is not a synonym for “library management”, but the designation of a new concept that has replaced administration and control.

Thus, the concept of library management, which was formed independently in domestic library science as a response to the real processes of the socio-economic life of Russia, organically fits into the global trends in the transformation of library management into the information age, which serves as proof of its validity and constructiveness.

The formation of library management was driven not by academic, intra-scientific, but primarily by the social interest in achieving greater efficiency in all areas of library activities. The development of library management is conditioned by socio-practical problems, and the development of rules and norms for effective organizational and managerial activity is its main task.

The specificity of library management as a theoretical discipline is determined, first of all, by its focus on solving practical problems.

In addition, the main feature of library management is its interdisciplinary nature, which makes it possible to use as a theoretical basis a wide range of scientific knowledge and concepts developed in domestic and foreign library science, world management theory and practice, economics, psychology, and sociology. In other words, there are no restrictions of an ideological or narrowly professional nature in the concept of library management. And in this sense, the concept of library management is the theoretical basis for applying the achievements of many sciences in the management of a modern library.

In contrast to the rationalism of the former concept, library management based on the modern management paradigm is characterized by such key factors as:

effective use of human potential, aimed at developing the ability of people to act together;

inseparable from an organizational culture based on honesty and trust in people;

the evolutionary nature of the development of systems and methods; addition (rather than destruction) of existing structures and their gradual adaptation to new conditions;

foresight of changes, flexibility and urgency of management decisions based on entrepreneurship, initiative, creativity; the priority of the strategic direction of management, which allows to cope with the increasing complexity of problems, respond to drastic changes in the external environment, survive and achieve their goals in the long term;

the formation of communications between people and the determination of the individual contribution of each worker to the overall result.

2. The concept of “management”

First of all, we need to define what we mean by the word “management”.

Management is a process aimed at achieving the goals of the organization by streamlining the transformation of initial substances or resources (labor, materials, finance) into the required results (products, services)

We use this word in three meanings: general management, management at the level of a department (division), process management.

General management. General management refers to all managers (managers), regardless of whether they are directors or not, who are responsible for setting goals and formulating policies, for issues related to the planning and organization, control and management of the company. Terms such as “senior management” or “senior administration” are often used, which may include the director, managing director or chief (general) manager, as well as other senior officials, such as the financial director or head of the finance department, to whom they report . The nature of the functions of general management changes with a change in the size of the company, the degree of complexity of the tasks it solves. The external environment also has a corresponding influence. The role he performs is generally the same for most companies and firms.

The organizational functions of the general management of the enterprise include:

directly organizational function, that is, the formation of the most appropriate organizational structure in accordance with the strategy of the company, and each employee of the company must best meet the production requirements for him;

management, that is, the management of the company’s activities, the implementation of plans, the transformation of the latter into production duties for middle and lower-level employees and other employees of the company, stimulating the quality of work. It should be noted that one of the problems of management is the ability to choose the right leadership style.

control, that is, ensuring the proper performance of work by all elements of the organizational structure. Control systems serve to measure the quality and quantity of the work done. The main element of the control function is the presence of feedback between the information received on the results of work and the relevant plans, standards, norms, so that deviations are analyzed and eliminated;

coordination, that is, the unification into a single whole of all the efforts of each element of the organization. Techniques for coordination are compliance with the budget, regular meetings, conferences, meetings of various commissions. Proper implementation of coordination presupposes the presence of a developed communication system.

Management at the department (division) level. Performs the following functions: setting goals and objectives at the department level in accordance with the overall objectives and goals of the organization; organization of the work of the department (creation of a structure, distribution of responsibilities, conflict resolution); managing production activities to fulfill the plan, stimulating the quality work of department employees, coordinating the production process within the department, ensuring proper communication.

Management process. Obviously, the only significant difference between general management and departmental management lies in the scope, scope, authority, responsibility, and level of detail. The management process includes the implementation of all the above functions and can be performed by any member of this organization within its competence. Despite the fact that we have given the definition of management in relation to those employees of the company who are responsible at least for the unit, nevertheless, management functions can be performed by an inspector (controller), foreman (foreman), that is, those whom we usually do not call managers. However, they still have to be managers at their own, albeit low, level.

library management

Market conditions have qualitatively complicated library activity, aimed it at flexibility, adaptation to the environment, the structure of supply and demand in the information market. This, in turn, exacerbated the problem of the competence of the library staff, its managers to work in the new, rapidly changing market conditions, complicated the tasks of training and advanced training of librarians.

The requirements for the level of professional education of a library specialist are becoming ever higher, as experience can less and less serve as a guide for the future. Increasingly, constantly updated knowledge and intuition are required. Of particular importance is a new style of thinking, the ability to carry out productive professional activities in the absence of specialized methods, certain norms and patterns, when there are no clear and precise instructions.

A special role in updating the library, increasing its competitiveness should be played by library managers, for whom the ability to find solutions based on the analysis and synthesis of factors affecting the library, mobility in mastering new technologies become professionally significant …

The concept of “library manager”, which seemed unusual and unnatural several years ago, is a widespread and organic phenomenon in modern library terminology. Professional affiliation with specialist managers assumes that a certain subject has mastered the necessary amount of knowledge, that he owns management methodology, adheres to certain standards of activity and behavior, knows how to set goals and achieve their fulfillment, manage personnel and motivate productive work, has an appropriate image.

A library manager is not necessarily a leader, he may not have subordinates at all. What makes him a manager is more the responsibility for his own contribution to the results achieved by the library than the responsibility for the work of others.

The head of the library as a library manager is a leader of an entrepreneurial style, who is more capable of big ideas, flexibility, reasonable risk, appreciates independence, the opportunity to work creatively, expects a decent reward for his work. He is the creator of new systems that are qualitatively superior to the old ones, he ensures the creation of such working conditions under which each employee has opportunities for professional growth and development and, using them, can achieve the best results without facing a bureaucratic approach to business.

Libraries conventionally distinguish three levels of management: higher, middle, lower. Accordingly, three categories of employees are classified as managerial personnel in libraries:

administrative and managerial staff (management), performing the functions of administration, general management of the library;

functional managers (heads of departments), who, according to their position, prepare and justify management decisions, mainly on production processes;

line managers (heads of sectors, chief librarians), managers whose job functions are dominated by “person-to-person” relationships.

The results [of the study] were surprising, demonstrating the prevailing priorities in the views of various categories of leaders. So, many senior managers in the first place (in importance) put those qualities that should distinguish the work of every worthy specialist, they marked: high professionalism, honor, dignity, loyalty to the word; organizational skills, self-control, endurance and resistance to stress are ranked second; and only on the third such qualities as the ability to make decisions, achieve goals; entrepreneurship, initiative, creativity, responsibility and respect for subordinates. This result of the study suggests that those librarians who have determined this sequence of priorities in their minds are not yet ready to implement constructive changes in their libraries, as they themselves tend to see the development of library activities only against the background of observance of moral principles in team and conscientious attitude to work. The importance of these qualities is not disputed, but the results obtained show the prevalence in libraries of the command-administrative style of leadership, which is apparently characteristic of managers of the older generation. In addition, the results of the survey also show a certain declarativeness of respondents’ answers about the need for constructive changes, which was emphasized by first-level managers in previous answers to the questionnaire, or they demonstrate their awareness of the need for upcoming changes only at the level of problem statement. However, even this level of perception is of particular importance for the manager himself, since it serves as the basis for the formation of attitudes and beliefs in the team, and is an impulse to change the organizational behavior and organizational culture of the library. At the same time, it must be admitted that here we observe not so much traditionalism in the views of the library manager, who today put “professionalism” ahead of “entrepreneurship” in a number of significant qualities of a library manager, but with his ideas about the ways of library development. Another conclusion of the study, which emerged as a result of the analysis of the responses of administrators, is the assumption that most of them assign the role of “driving force” of change to the lower levels of management – functional and line managers. The validity of this hypothesis is confirmed by the analysis of answers to the question about the significant qualities of a library manager, managers of levels 2 and 3. In the first place they put the ability to make decisions, achieve goals, high professionalism of the leader; on the second – his organizational skills, friendliness, sensitivity and respect for subordinates, the ability to analyze and assess the situation, and on the third – responsibility, discipline and self-control. This hierarchical series is fundamentally different from the previous one, it reflects the readiness of functional and line managers for active work, understanding the importance of taking into account market factors in management, understanding the importance of psychological comfort in the library team for the constructive development of the library.

Emphasizing the role of the leader in the positive development of the library, we must recognize that the pace and content of innovation processes depend not only on his competence and entrepreneurial spirit. Of particular importance is the degree of cohesion of the team, its organizational culture, the presence in the team of groups that directly or indirectly prevent changes or support them, the professionalism of the library staff, the presence in the traditions of the library of favorable and long-term relations with the regional public, representatives of library schools, government structures, business circles, mass media.

In the course of the study, it was important to establish what, in the opinion of the leaders, hinders the development of the library and interferes with effective management. As it turns out, librarians see several limiting factors:

* short-sightedness of senior managers, often holding back creative, initiative activity;

* inertia and unqualified personnel, unwillingness of employees to support the initiative;

* lack of necessary resources and inability to find them in the current conditions;

* the inability to attract young promising employees to the library staff – graduates of new library specializations or personnel educated in the field of information systems and computer technology, psychology, advertising, design and public relations.

One of the main conclusions of the study was that a qualitative transformation of library activities is possible only where purposeful work is carried out to form an organizational culture. It is no coincidence that specialists in the field of organizational management distinguish two sections of the organization, which are the main ones when carrying out strategic changes. The first cut is the structure of the organization, the second is the organizational culture. If the organizational structure defines the boundaries of structural units and sets the formal links between them, then the organizational culture directs the actions of team members. The organizational culture of a library in modern literature is understood as a set of the most important assumptions accepted and prevailing in the team and expressed in the values declared by the library, which set its employees guidelines for their behavior and actions. These value orientations determine the moral climate, help librarians understand the purpose of their library and thereby create norms of activity and behavior, rules for following them.

Culture not only distinguishes one library from another, but also significantly determines the success of its functioning and development in the long term. Since the bearers of organizational culture are people, its formation is the basis of library personnel management. On its basis, attitudes of behavior are determined and interpersonal relations in the team are regulated, relationships between management and subordinates are built. It is reflected in the strategy and structure of the organization, the principles of management, which, in turn, are considered as tools of organizational culture.

The content of organizational culture affects the direction of behavior and is determined not by a simple sum of assumptions, but by how they are interconnected and how they form certain patterns of behavior. Organizational culture begins to determine the limits of the system’s flexibility in extreme situations, it expresses the degree of readiness of the team to implement changes, and the degree of its maturity. What is needed is not a blindly perpetuated culture, but one that puts forward new requirements for managers and the team and is perceived by them.

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