COVID-19 Update: We are currently shipping orders daily. However, due to transit disruptions in some geographies, deliveries may be delayed. To provide all customers with timely access to content, we are offering 50% off Science and Technology Print & eBook bundle options. Terms & conditions.
How Libraries Make Tough Choices in Difficult Times - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781843347019, 9781780633671

How Libraries Make Tough Choices in Difficult Times

1st Edition

Purposeful Abandonment

Author: David Stern
eBook ISBN: 9781780633671
Paperback ISBN: 9781843347019
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 19th February 2013
Page Count: 226
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out Price includes VAT/GST
Price includes VAT/GST

Institutional Subscription

Secure Checkout

Personal information is secured with SSL technology.

Free Shipping

Free global shipping
No minimum order.

Table of Contents

  • List of figures
  • List of case studies
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the author
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Considered and effective leadership
    • Abstract:
    • Why undertake a review?
    • Managing expectations, not operations
    • Reporting to multiple masters: finding a balance of service quality and efficiencies
    • Involvement and understandings across the organization
    • The four Ds: Do, Delegate, Delay, Drop
    • Project management
    • Decision-making skills and implications
  • Chapter 2: Preparing for analysis
    • Abstract:
    • Failure is easy, success takes thoughtful effort
    • Understanding the Mission and objectives of your organization
    • Decide on transitional or transformative change
    • Emphasize an ongoing process
    • Continue to communicate your clear intentions
    • Managing operations or managing expectations
  • Chapter 3: A few important analysis techniques
    • Abstract:
    • Reviewing operations proactively and willingly
    • Beyond re-engineering
    • The importance of project management
    • Problem discovery processes
    • Chart goals, operations, and interests
    • Completing the review program
    • Outside factors and influences
    • Assessments: some initial and obvious first analysis opportunities
  • Chapter 4: Understanding and utilizing data and statistical reports
    • Abstract:
    • Collection and analysis of appropriate data
    • Evidence-based collection and analysis of appropriate data
    • Using data effectively
    • Utilizing statistics
    • Internal reports
  • Chapter 5: Environmental scans and the power of best practices
    • Abstract:
    • Steps toward identifying best practices
    • Performing Service Quality Improvement analyses
    • Case Study 10: Best practices for analytics and web interfaces
  • Chapter 6: Key management skills that contribute to organizational leadership and direction
    • Abstract:
    • Normal staff attention to tasks
    • Leadership skills
    • Assessment skills
    • The four Ds: Do, Delegate, Delay, Drop
    • Harness internal power
    • Conclusion
  • Appendix A: Start-up scenarios to ponder
  • Appendix B: Suggested readings
  • Index


Contemporary library managers face the need to make difficult choices regarding resource allocation in the modern business environment. How Libraries Make Tough Choices in Difficult Times is a practical guide for library managers, offering techniques to analyze existing and potential services, implement best practices for maximizing existing resources, and utilize pressing financial scenarios in order to justify making difficult reallocation decisions. The book begins by asking the fundamental questions of why, what, and how, moving on to look at how to manage expectations and report to both administration and faculty. The book then considers the four ‘D’s of Do, Delegate, Delay and Drop, before covering project management, and how to understand the mission and objectives of your organisation. The book then focuses on: service quality improvement analyses; identifying underlying issues; reviewing resources; identifying best practice; managing feedback and expectations; and looking at decision making skills and implications.

Key Features

  • Introduces both philosophies and techniques for decision-making that will help inexperienced library managers
  • Provides resources for a practical orientation to new Service Quality Improvement and Project Management approaches as library managers address a wide range of resource allocation considerations
  • Written by a highly experienced practitioner in the field


Managers of all levels within libraries, and students and professionals in library information science


No. of pages:
© Chandos Publishing 2013
19th February 2013
Chandos Publishing
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:


"...the content is straightforward and direct. There are many books written for managers and their organisations facing difficult and challenging times – this one is aimed directly at library managers and their staff and is certainly recommended to those currently working in the environment."--The Australian Library Journal,Vol. 63, No. 2, 2014

Stern suggests that a more “transformational evaluation and redesign” for library services may be called for – “abandoning” less important operations even if they are traditionally associated with the library, and enhancing those that are the key sources of value to our users. …Stern's idea forces us to re-evaluate some of our most fundamental philosophies …and the pragmatic and practical advice highlights simple yet effective techniques. --Libfocus

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

David Stern

David Stern is the Associate Dean for Public Services at Milner Library, Illinois State University. David has degrees in Biological Sciences; History & Philosophy of Science; and Library Science, and was the founder and principal of Maximize Information. Previously Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources at Brown University, and Director of Science Libraries at Yale University, David taught library science graduate courses and serves as a consultant and advisor to a number of professional bodies. David served on the Board of Directors (2000-2003) and as the Chair of the Knowledge Management Division (2007-2008) of the Special Libraries Association (SLA), and as Editor of the journal Science and Technology Libraries from 2005-2007. His research interests include electronic retrieval and transmission of data and the development of end-user search systems for both local and remote hosts. He is currently working on the development of standards and cost models for federated full-text search and retrieval systems. David has many articles, several chapters, two edited special issues of Science and Technology Libraries, and a book, Guide to Information Sources in the Physical Sciences, to his credit. He is a regular speaker at conferences.

Affiliations and Expertise

Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, NY