Practical ways to improve a dysfunctional library

For Immediate Release
Thu, 01/16/2020


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Like other workplaces, libraries can sometimes be stressful, with library workers bearing the brunt of such problems as uncivil patrons, poor communication, inadequate leadership, and toxic behaviors by fellow employees. But there’s hope. Following up their acclaimed examination of the dysfunctional library ("should be essential reading for library leaders" raves Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association), in “Cultivating Civility: Practical Ways to Improve a Dysfunctional Library,” published by ALA Editions, Jo Henry, Joe Eshleman, and Richard Moniz present a book of proactive solutions and guidance culled from their own research, including interviews with library administrators and staff. Sharing valuable insights that will stimulate thought and discussion towards the goal of a healthier and more harmonious workplace, this book:

  • addresses the subject from four viewpoints—individual, team, leader, and organization—focusing on solutions and practical steps in each area;
  • shows how self-reflection and self-awareness can be key starting points for exploring workplace issues;
  • offers numerous suggestions for wellness and self-care;
  • provides tips for improving interpersonal communication and conversations in ways that prevent silos and span boundaries;
  • sheds light on forming and sustaining cohesive library teams, then provides solutions for misaligned teams and dissenters;
  • discusses why effectively conveying vision, role modeling, and demonstrating empathy are all crucial behaviors of library leaders;
  • shares actions library leaders can take to engage employees in the change process;
  • examines how organizational structures can either detract or contribute to a library’s success; and
  • details types of training that can be utilized to minimize dysfunction, including training for bias, empathy, conflict management, and diversity.

The authors previously collaborated on “The Dysfunctional Library: Challenges and Solutions to Workplace Relationships” and “Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison.”

Henry is reference and instruction librarian at the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Library (Georgetown Campus), South Carolina. She also coauthored the books “The Personal Librarian: Enhancing the Student Experience” and “The Mindful Librarian.” She has presented at numerous library conferences and co-facilitated several library workshops. Eshleman is senior librarian at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has completed the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Immersion Program, an intensive program of training and education for instruction librarians. His coauthor credits include “The Mindful Librarian” and “Librarians and Instructional Designers: Innovation and Collaboration.” He has presented at numerous conferences on instructional librarianship and other topics. Moniz, EdD, is the director of library services at the Horry-Georgetown Technical College. During his career he has taught classes on subjects such as computer science, world history, US history, American government, Information Sources and Services, Special Libraries, Library Administration, Information Sources in the Professions, and Online Bibliographic Information Retrieval. He has published widely, including the book “Practical and Effective Management of Libraries.”

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions and ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or