Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review: The Customer-Driven Academic Library

Author: Jeannette A. Woodward
Title: The Customer-Driven Academic Library
Description : Woodward’s contention is that as library tasks have become more specialized, the librarians have retreated more and more into their offices, leaving the library employees with less  training to do the crucial work of interacting with the customers.  
Writing style: Very readable, though the book isn’t about style but about ideas.
Audience: Academic librarians.
Major ideas: I’ve had this idea about university faculty as well. Although the naïve bystander might think that faculty are there to help students, I’ve learned that faculty are there to get tenure.  Woodward pushes this idea back on the library, and it’s a convincing argument. Although she doesn’t dwell on personality, I believe that most librarians are introverts, and are more comfortable not dealing with people as a major focus of their jobs. By indulging ourselves in this way, however, we run the risk of hastening the demise of the academic library; if the only workers anyone encounters are students, they will quickly begin to question why librarians are being paid to hide in the back rooms.
Wrap-up: This small book doesn’t contain all of the answers to the present library crisis, but it does present a persuasive argument that academic librarians need to spend more of their professional time interacting with students and faculty and less time indulging their penchant for the ivory tower. 4/5*

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