For immediate release | November 15, 2011

The fundamentals of small public library management

CHICAGO — Anyone at the helm of a small public library knows that every little detail counts. But juggling the responsibilities that are part and parcel of the job is far from easy. “Small Public Library Management,” published by ALA Editions, is a comprehensive handbook that includes everything administrators need in order to keep a handle on library operations, freeing them up to streamline and improve how the organization functions. Small public library veterans Jane Pearlmutter and Paul Nelson address everything from finance and HR to collection development, policy and programming. Also included are “Tales from the Field,” offering real-world perspectives from library directors across the country. The book is packed with practical advice and numerous checklists for:

  • Preparing budgets, writing financial reports and working with the library board;
  • Simplifying workflow through effective delegation ;
  • Collection development, including tips for effective weeding;
  • Launching initiatives and outreach programs, such as adult literacy programming and homework help centers.

Pearlmutter has been at the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 1985, responsible for organizing, marketing and often teaching continuing education programs in library and information studies, including core courses for public library director certification and leadership training for state library agencies. She also teaches graduate courses in management and collection development. An active member of the Wisconsin Library Association, she has been involved in advocacy and long-range planning for public libraries at the local, state and national levels.

As a department head/assistant director (1978–1986) and library director (1986–2008), Nelson has extensive experience in all aspects of public library administration: governance, advocacy, policy development, budgeting, personnel management, facilities planning, marketing and long-range planning. Since the mid-1980s, he has provided more than 100 workshops on these subjects to library systems in the upper Midwest. As adjunct assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Library and Information Studies, he teaches a reference and information services course and courses in public library management and library advocacy.

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