After a career of more than 40 years, Murray-Rust, former Dean of Libraries at Georgia Tech and a self-proclaimed library disrupter, sees our profession’s central challenge as simply this: how to turn the library outward in order to make a difference in the lives of individuals and the community. In this book she encourages readers to look an uncertain library future square in the eye. She shares stories from her transformational years at Georgia Tech Libraries which present both inspiration and practical advice on how to stand up for values while changing the ways we act upon them. Organized around seven action steps for change, this book offers takeaways and activities you can adapt to your work style and organizational culture. You will learn from such stories and lessons as
- the three different kinds of information you need for measuring impact;
- using new frameworks, outside fragmented, risk-adverse library structures, to get the work done;
- the limitations of trying to manage your way through major cultural change;
- embedding in the community to develop visions and strategies for improvement;
- painful and challenging times that set Murray-Rust on a path of self-learning;
- how an uncomfortable assignment led to a sought-after seat at the table for a university-wide capital construction project;
- the bold promise that got the library onto the high-priority list for renovation;
- visiting a Toyota plant to learn how to encourage employee engagement and creativity; and
- learning to listen with the "turning outward" philosophy of Harwood Institute.
About the Author
Catherine Murray-Rust retired in August 2020 as the dean of libraries at the Georgia Institute of Technology. For more than 40 years she has been a change agent, reimagining library services and collections to meet the needs of the community. Now she focuses on telling encouraging stories and offering practical advice about how to help libraries thrive in the future.
"This insightful book offers ideas that can be easily implemented by librarians who want to develop their trailblazing and leadership skills in order to pave the way for the future of their institutions."
— Library Journal
"As the author rightly points out, the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustices have forced librarians to rethink their programs of resources and service. In her preface, she offers 'action steps to navigate these rapidly changing times and prepare for a brighter future.' To this end, she writes from her 40 years of experience transforming academic libraries ... She does not shy away from challenges and frustrations but rather shows how to deal with those situations and learn from the experiences. This book provides a unique, revealing look at library issues, particularly from a change-agent approach."
"The perfect introduction to reevaluating and reinventing the role of the library, be it on campus, in the school, or in the community. The activities spread throughout the book serve as great reflective moments, allowing readers to absorb what they learn and apply that knowledge to their own libraries ... This book is a great read and will be revisited frequently."