For this week’s post I am reviewing the UCD Applied Social Science Libguide. This was my first time to use a libguide and to be honest when I first clicked on it I wasn’t sure I was in the right place. For some reason, I thought a libguide must be like a manual you get with all your new flat pack furniture and electrical appliances. When I had finally figured out I was looking at the libguide, I was really impressed with the comprehensive coverage.

I think more should be done to promote the departmental libguides as they are an excellent source for new students. As you can see from the picture they have a tab to cover any possible resource a student studying applied social studies might need as well as video tutorials to improve their academic skills. I found the whole guide very informative and useful for my studies at UCD especially the link for ‘our tutorials and guides’. These tutorials are invaluable to students of any discipline at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The libguide was well laid out and is regularly updated, it also has links to both the library and department of Applied Social Science Twitter newsfeeds. I think the best feature of this guide is that it is clearly laid out. On each tab there is just basic need to know information and they also use a good mix of media types.

This is an excellent resource but if I was given the task to add to it, I would probably create a space on the home page for a journal of the month. A link on the home page would increase the number of users for that resource and make it less intimidating for first time users to access. Blogging is also a tool used by many academics and practitioners, so it would be useful to have a link to some blogs related to applied social science.




The articles we read this week were all related to financial planning. This is the number one issue for any service dependent on pubic finance. We are all familiar with the phrase ‘you must do more with less’ but these articles highlight that libraries have been forced to work under this mantra for many decades and guides us on how they have tried to deal with this issue.

These articles give us some practical advice on how to manage library finances and shows us how to raise funds from alternative sources such as fundraising. They were all very interesting and pin pointed that the major issue with running this public service whether it be in the US or the UK was the severe under-funding of libraries from successive governments. This is the same problem that libraries in Ireland are facing. Over the last number of years there has been a huge campaign in the media to discredit regular civil servants by claiming their wages are too high and they have too many benefits. By causing this divide between public and private sector employees it makes it easier for successive governments to bring in huge pay cuts, an embargo on recruitment and cuts to spending on these services. This leaves us with not only a severely underfunded but also understaffed library network.

Although the articles highlight the above issues and give us advice on how to deal with the situation they don’t raise a strategy to resist the ongoing attacks on this vital public service. In Ireland we are already near breaking point, there are no career prospects as a librarian for new graduates and our National Library collection is under threat due to insufficient funds to for adequate off site storage. The only real solution to these problems is an organised mass movement of the trade unions and general public. The services that the library provides are vital to the community, with out them literacy rates would decrease and people would have little or no access to archives as well as government publications.

Fundraising is a major part of any public service, I have been involved in many campaigns for different charities and clubs but this strategy is getting more and more difficult as the general public’s spending power has reduced dramatically in the last few years. If I was in a position of managing a libraries budget I am not sure how I would deal with it because from year to year the situation keeps getting worse so who knows if there will be even careers for recent graduates.


Accounting for libraries (n.d.) in Library of Michigan financial management reference guide. Chapter 1, page 1.1-1.10.

Cross, R. (2011). Not so fast! Budget allocation formulas: magic or illusion?. [DOI: 10.1108/08880451111142114]. Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, The, 24(1), 63-67.

Holt, G. (2005). Getting beyond the pain: understanding and dealing with declining library funding. [DOI: 10.1108/08880450510632271]. Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, The, 18(4), 185-190.

Rader, H. (2000). Fundraising in academic libraries: the United States experience. Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, The, 13(2), 93-99






This weeks readings are on the subject of strategic planning and the importance of planning within the library. The texts vary in length and of course the longer the text the more detail that is given. However, the shorter text by Mott gives us the key strategies to to follow before making a plan and compliment the other two texts. All three texts outline the importance of not drawing out the planing process and to work collaboratively with clients as well as staff.

I think the planning process becomes more transparent when everyone has the opportunity to give their opinion during the draft stages as in the paper by Elizabeth Stephan. Client feedback is essential in providing a high quality service and by giving clients and staff who are not part of the committee a chance to be involved gives everyone a greater sense of ownership and more motivation to implement these plans.

It is important for planners to state a clear mission and vision during the early stages of the planning process so that they have a clearer focus. Once there is a clear focus it is much easier for the planners to work more efficiently. Stephen also mentioned that her library had previously made 10 year strategic plans that took a long time to develop and where not practical to implement when finished. This supports Mott  Linn’s call for strategic plans to be made over a short period of time when the library has a vast majority of the information needed to make a decision. He also used an analogy of Colin Powell’s decision making process to highlight this point but due to my own political opinion and views on war I don’t agree with Powell but I can see how it is an effective strategy for management of other resources.  The major disadvantage of a detailed strategic plan is that they take so much time to plan that they can easily be outdated by the time they are finished as libraries are not static environments. It also highlights the point that Holt made about the cost of all these long meetings that don’t benefit the library in the long run.

It is very important to have a strategic plan as it gives staff a clear goal to work towards but having a more informal and brief planning process means that the library can adapt more easily to changes in the environment and resources that might occur during that plan. It should also allow for reflection on the process and on the implementation to help measure the effectiveness of the plan on a regular basis and make adjustments where needed. Including clients in the planning and implementation of a strategic plan and making the final plan accessible helps cement strong links with its users and thus help the staff succeed in achieving its mission and vision.

Fairholm, M. R. (2009). Leadership and Organizational Strategy. Innovation Journal, 14(1), 1-16.

Holt (2002). God – and the devil – are in the details. The Bottom Line, 15(4), 174-175.  Retrieved September 9, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 274375901)

Mott, L. (2008). Planning strategically and strategic planning. [DOI: 10.1108/08880450810875738]. Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, The, 21(1), 20-23.

Stephan, E., 2010. Strategic Planning on the Fast Track”, Library Leadership and Management, 24(4): 189-198.




This post is about the new trends in how managers try to change the culture in the organisation they work for and the decision-making process they go through. The examples I read for this week were based in a library, a retail chain and a theme park. Even though these example come from three different industries they all provide a service to the public and have a lot more in common than one would previously assume.

The articles talk a lot about trying to change the culture and attitude employees have towards their role in the organisation and stress the importance of appropriate training. In the case study from the retail and the theme park they refer to their general staff as being on stage or actors while they are on duty. Although, the example from the library doesn’t do this all three articles say that the real decision-making process is done at the top-tier of the organisation and that the only way to guarantee the smooth running of the organisation is through fear. In the library case study the author stated that the director that states that they are all equals looses power and control very quickly. Whereas in the case studies from the retail sector and the theme park the company jargon they use to motivate all staff is that they are all equal working for a common goal even though the opposite is true. The majority of staff in these case studies work for low pay and have no job security. Even though the two case studies are very big companies I think that all three organisations could run smoothly and be more productive if all the staff had more security, were paid a fair wage for their work and genuinely given more autonomy in the work place.

I have worked in various positions in the retail, service and education sector and have come across many managers who followed the traditional dictatorial  role of manager and small few who have tried to change this culture by being effective communicators. Although the later examples are few, I was much happier and less stressed in my position thus I was more productive and worked more efficiently. Although, the two detailed case studies highlighted insecurity and the fear tactics used by the company as being an obstacle for productivity at all levels in the company. This culture has not been addressed in any attempts to the change the organisation of the company or the institution because it costs more money. In the race to the bottom companies are more interested in increasing profits and cutting more expenses. Tescos and Wallmart are two examples of companies with huge profits every year while the people working for these companies are scrapping by on minimum wage with no job security or pension plan. In the case of libraries, they are non profit-making institutions and face massive cuts in budgets and staff. I think the only way to change this is by strong leadership in trade unions and the support of the community.

 I think if I was in a managerial position I would use some of the key points highlighted in these examples but at the end of the day I would treat my staff in a way that I would like to be treated by management. This means clear communication for what is expected in my position and feedback on my performance and constructive criticism.



Maanen, J. (1999). Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland. South-Western College Publishing.

Holt (2002). God – and the devil – are in the details. The Bottom Line, 15(4), 174-175.  Retrieved September 9, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 274375901).

Ogbonna, E., & Wilkinson, B. (2003). The False Promise of Organizational Culture Change: A Case Study of Middle Managers in Grocery Retailing. Journal Of Management Studies, 40(5), 1151-1178. doi:10.1111/1467-6486.00375