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The Quality Library: A Guide to Self-Improvement, Better Efficiency, and Happier Customers
Sara Laughlin and Ray W. Wilson
Item Number: 978-0-8389-0952-2
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $57.00
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192 pages
8.5" x 11"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-0952-2
Year Published: 2008

Read sample chapters and the book's index now!

In an environment of budget cuts and freezes, libraries must keep a tight rein on costs and inefficiencies. The efficiency of systems and processes goes hand-in-hand with excellent customer service. Managers, however, often find themselves far enough removed from the day-to-day activities in the library that they don’t know where inefficiencies, mistakes, and poor customer service may occur.

Based on more than 50 years of author expertise in organizational improvement, The Quality Library offers a methodology to pinpoint trouble areas and improve processes. By developing a customer-focused system outlining library processes and networks, administrators and managers can quickly determine areas for improvement that directly apply to the library’s goals and missions. Staff will also learn how to statistically document the new process’s performance, giving the library a means to quantify its effects.

  • Gives administrators a clear understanding of their suppliers and customers
  • Empowers front-line staff to make improvements and better decisions
  • Boosts employee and team morale as they work together to bring about change
  • Offers real-life success examples showing how process improvement works
  • Includes figures, appendices, worksheets, and a glossary

    By continuously evaluating processes based on the guidelines and worksheets provided here, public and academic library administrators and managers will improve the quality and efficiency of service for patrons and staff alike.

    Table of Contents





    Chapter 1        The Continuous Improvement Approach

    Chapter 2        Identify Library Processes and Assess Their Importance and Condition

    Chapter 3        Standardize the Process

    Chapter 4        Measure Process Performance

    Chapter 5        Rapidly Improve the Process

    Chapter 6        Manage Process Improvement throughout the Library System

    Appendix A      List of Library Processes

    Appendix B      Library Process Measures

    Glossary of Process Improvement Terms


    About the Authors

    Sara Laughlin is president of Sara Laughlin & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in customer-focused, future-oriented planning, evaluation, and continuous improvement. In her 30-plus years as a librarian, she has worked as a reference librarian, branch manager, consortium director, library school faculty, and as a library trustee. Her consulting clients include public and academic libraries, school districts, State librarians and regional consortia, as well as foundations and other non-profits.

    Ray Wilson is a process engineer with more than 25 years of experience. He is coauthor with Sara Laughlin and Denise Sisco Shockley of The Library’s Continuous Improvement Fieldbook: 29 Ready-to-Use Tools (ALA Editions, 2003). Ray and Sara have worked together over the last four years in the Indiana Staff Development Council. He is also an active member of the Indy Quality, Productivity, and Improvement Council.

    “Recommended to all library administrators and managers seeking ways to improve internal operations and services.”
    --Theological Librarianship

    " clear direction on how to escape the trap of inefficient and/ or ineffective processes and replace them with policies and workflows that enhance the library user's experience and better address user expectations."
    --Serials Review

    "The book deserves a wide readership and I recommend it to all libraries, great, and small.
    --The Electronic Library

    "The volume itself is laid out in a very easy to follow, step-by-step arrangement. It is full of flow charts, graphs, and worksheets that are intended to help layout the framework for implementation at your library. The appendices are especially useful to those interested in examining their libraries' work flows."
    --Internet Reference Services Quarterly

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