Unfettered: Rethinking Bureaucracy in Libraries
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About this Session:
Bureaucracy exists to some extent in every size and type of library, from codes of conduct and classification systems, to measuring and reporting our efficiencies. Such systems are usually created with the best of intentions, but they can have deleterious effects for creativity, morale, and ironically, efficiency. That bureaucracy will always exist in libraries is a given, but there are ways to balance its failings. This session charts bureaucracy for its positive aspects and shortcomings, and considers ways to balance bureaucracy, including Agile and Lean project management; self-directed teams; critical librarianship; outcomes and impact based evaluation; and frontline advocacy.
Participants will be able to define bureaucracy beyond traditional notions of "red tape" and identify the ways in which bureaucracy operates in their library systems, both positive and negative. Participants will be introduced to George Ritzer's concept of "McDonaldization," and consider the ways in which libraries demonstrate these ideas of efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control through non-human technologies in their structures and workflows. Most importantly, participants will see some examples of how libraries are casting off the iron cage of bureaucracy to adapt to change and boost morale.
About the Presenter:
Originally from Manassas, Virginia, Chelsea Jordan-Makely has worked in public, academic, state, and school libraries, in the U.S., Tanzania, South Africa, and presently, in Canada. She is uncommonly passionate about library research methods, leadership, customer service and advocacy. As such, she was drawn to the subject of bureaucracy in libraries, and spent the past year researching and writing on the topic, with the aim of helping libraries to cut through unnecessary red tape, embrace change, and speak up for the future of libraries. Chelsea is the Technology & Support Services Librarian at the Whistler Public Library.