Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

Moving into a library management position can feel like a daunting and solitary pursuit. Graduate school courses in management are expensive and often hard to find, and even having a mentor at hand is no guarantee of a successful transition. To help library managers improve their skills and acumen, renowned speaker and trainer Hakala-Ausperk presents a handy self-study guide to the dynamic role of being a boss. Organized in 52 modules, designed to cover a year of weekly sessions but easily adaptable for any pace, this workbook

  • Covers major management topics such as success with stakeholders, staffing, customer service, planning, funding, leadership, and more
  • Offers an inexpensive alternative to seminars and classroom instruction
  • Requires an investment of as little as an hour per week, and is completely self-paced
  • Includes challenging questions and exercises, and a Web-based template to record learning progress

Suitable for all levels of management, from first-line supervisors to library directors, this book lays out a clear path to learning the essentials of being a great boss.


First Month: Attitude
Week One: The Attitude You Display
Week Two: How to Treat Others
Week Three: Instill Confidence
Week Four: Lead, Model, and Motivate

Second Month: Success with Stakeholders
Week One: Your Board
Week Two: Your Community
Week Three: Your Industry Peers
Week Four: Your Staff Leaders

Third Month: Staffing
Week One: Hiring and Firing
Week Two: Evaluating and Developing
Week Three: Scheduling
Week Four: Mentoring and Motivating

Fourth Month: Communication
Week One: Any Way You Can
Week Two: Meetings
Week Three: Writing
Week Four: What Not to Say

Fifth Month: Customer Service
Week One: The People
Week Two: The Place
Week Three: Virtual Service
Week Four: Baby Steps

Sixth Month: Planning
Week One: Why Plan?
Week Two: Basic Foundations
Week Three: Your Library's Style
Week Four: Results

Seventh Month: Friends and Allies
Week One: The Community
Week Two: Your Staff
Week Three: Colleagues
Week Four: Corporate Culture

Eighth Month: Training
Week One: Newcomers
Week Two: Career Development
Week Three: Keeping Sharp
Week Four: The Finish Line

Ninth Month: Funding
Week One: Basic Budgeting
Week Two: The Process
Week Three: Keeping Budgets Real
Week Four: Adding Value

Tenth Month: People
Week One: Ground Rules
Week Two: Policies and Practices
Week Three: Discipline
Week Four: The Art of Negotiating (with Anyone)

Eleventh Month: Leadership
Week One: Leaders Share Their Vision
Week Two: Leaders Make Decisions
Week Three: Leaders Take Action
Week Four: Leaders Know Who They Are

Twelfth Month: Your Future
Week One: Damage Control
Week Two: Habits and Crutches
Week Three: A Strategic Career
Week Four: Back to Attitude

Appendix: Workbook Template

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk is an author, speaker, and trainer with over 35 years’ library experience in everything from direct customer service to library management and administration. She is an Adjunct Instructor at the iSchool at Kent State and also teaches for the American Library Association’s Certified Public Library Administrator (CPLA) Program, The Public Library Association, ALA’s eLearning Solutions, the Urban Library Council, InfoPeople, and multiple other organizations.  An active speaker, planner, and trainer in libraries across the country, she is the author of seven books:  Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success (ALA, 2011); Build a Great Team: One Year to Success (ALA, 2013); Renew Yourself: A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work (ALA, 2017); and a unique series of Leadership Planners, including Future-Proof Your Team; Win ‘Em Over; Dynamic Discipline; and Hot Ticket Meetings. Catherine’s passion is for supporting, coaching, and developing great libraries, successful teams, and – especially – strong and effective leaders. You can check out her clients and projects on her website or follow her on Facebook at Catherine’s full resume is available at

"For anyone who has ever attended a management seminar that bore little if any relevance to managing in a library, this book, written in a friendly, accessible style and grounded in real-life library experience, is like having your very own management mentor. Recommended for new and veteran library managers alike."

"Any library director, whether experienced or not, will definitely benefit from this book."
--Information Today

"You are essentially writing your own book of every aspect of a boss's job. The process of scheduling time to fill in the worksheets each week and formulating your answers will help you to become the great boss you want to be."
--Journal of Hospital Librarianship

"The methodical lessons are straightforward, with an emphasis on interpersonal skills and relationship-building. Despite their simplicity, these lessons are thought-provoking and include a worksheet and a few reading recommendations at the end of each week ... This professional reference is recommended for any type of library."

"Any library director, whether experienced or not, will definitely benefit from this book. The readings are long enough to contain plenty of good material but brief enough to read fairly quickly."
--Gwen M. Gregory,

"The worksheet portion of the workbook is definitely a bonus. The tasks are creative, practical, and developed in a manner that can inform and result in benefits for the library manager and library as a whole ... Ultimately, the workbook is beneficial for a manager at any type of library."
--Serials Review

"This book is an excellent resource ... Not only are the tips and topics succinct, personal, and vital, but the author has also provided exercises and questions in the form of worksheets to record progress and solidify learning."
--Public Services Quarterly

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