Finding the library’s path to survival, success and growth

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/21/2015


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — In the years since John J. Huber’s trailblazing book “Lean Library Management” was published, budget pressures on libraries have only increased. Yet libraries that have adopted his strategies have turned conventional management thinking—that if budgets are reduced, customer service suffers—on its head. These libraries have proven that by streamlining and improving customer services, they can eliminate wasteful activities and bring down costs. In “The Purpose-Based Library: Finding Your Path to Survival, Success, and Growth,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, Huber and seasoned public library administrator Steven V. Potter build on insight gleaned from decades of experience to demonstrate how libraries can create real growth opportunities through concentrating on their true mission and purpose, and without spending a lot more money. With a focus on putting ideas into action, they point the way towards:

  • new ways to think about metrics;
  • reexamining customer self-driven services;
  • effectively leveraging the considerable footprint of libraries;
  • identifying and assessing community needs and realigning library services accordingly;
  • actively encouraging community fundraising;
  • offering cutting-edge services and programs.

Huber formed the management consulting firm of J. Huber and Associates in 1986. Focused on the tools, principles and concepts of lean, he has dedicated his career to helping organizations dramatically improve their customer service through improved process performance. He has traveled the country assisting more than 100 manufacturing, distribution, retail and library organizations transform their operations. His clients have included the New York Public Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Tulsa City-County Library, Mid-Continent Public Library, and Austin Public Library.

Potter is the library director and CEO at Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) in Missouri. The MCPL system, which serves more than 750,000 people, was awarded the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2014. MCPL’s Woodneath Library Center was opened in 2013 and includes the Story Center, which houses Woodneath Press, an on-site bookmaking printer; a digital storytelling technology lab; a recording booth; and an archive of oral, written and digital stories produced at the center. He is also an adjunct professor at University of Missouri.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. Founded in 1976 by Patricia Glass Schuman and John Vincent Neal, Neal-Schuman Publishers, now an imprint of ALA Publishing, publishes professional books for librarians, archivists, and knowledge managers. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or