Managing in the Middle: The Librarian’s Handbook

Request for Proposals
Publication Title:  Managing in the Middle: The Librarian’s Handbook
Publisher:  American Library Association (Fall 2011)
Editors: Robert Farrell and Kenneth Schlesinger (Leonard Lief Library, Lehman College, CUNY)
Scope:  This “grab and go” volume for ALA’s Librarian’s Handbook series seeks brief, real world articles of use to mid-level managers in academic and public libraries. 
Topic and Audience:  Top-level library managers, responding to contemporary trends, are increasingly delegating responsibilities to those in the middle, demanding innovation and entrepreneurial creativity, as well as accountability and day-to-day coordination of staff and services.  Today’s mid-level managers face a variety of new supervisory challenges.  Of the roughly 70,000 academic and public librarians, about a third find themselves “managing in the middle” reporting to top-level managers while supervising teams of peers or support staff.  Our target audiences are current mid-level library managers, new librarians assuming these roles, and library management students looking for grounded insight into the administrative issues they’ll soon be facing.

Authors:  We invite essays from those who know the realities of the job best:  those managing in the middle.  We also seek perspectives from management experts, former mid-level managers, scholars, nascent supervisors, top-level managers, as well as librarians and paraprofessionals who have been “middle managed”  A variety of formats are encouraged:  “how to,” interviews with practitioners, case studies, illuminating anecdotes, brief tips, theory in practice pieces, rants and confessionals, annotated bibliographies, etc.

Some possible themes for consideration include:
� middle manager as leader and entrepreneur
� management expectations of midddle managers
� “sandwich effect� getting it from above and below
� real world applications of leadership principles and management techniques
� developing reflective management practices
� project management:  best practices and skills, challenges and successes
� managing the top-level manager
� supervising administrative units and  empowering work teams
� risk taking and learning from failure
� both sides now:  conflict resolution from the middle
� communicating and listening in the middle
� recruiting, training, retaining
� building trust and morale
� coaching, facilitating, mentoring
� goal setting and annual evaluations
� nightmare bosses and problem employees
� creative problem solving:  achieving  the impossible
Please submit a one-page proposal (multiple ideas welcome) including a biographical sketch by November 1, 2010 to:  Brief e-mail queries or questions about the project are also welcome. Contributors will receive a free copy of the publication and discounts on subsequent copies.
For an archive of past messages from the ILI listserv, visit:

Leave a Reply