Starred review of Leading from the Middle in Library Journal: "Highly Recommended"

Posted by jlubans on December 15, 2010

This review appeared in the Nov 1, 2010 Library Journal.

20101217-OrangeReviewStar.gifLubans, John, Jr. “Leading from the Middle,” and Other Contrarian Essays on Library Leadership. ABC-CLIO. (Beta Phi Mu Monograph). 2010. c.192p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781598845778. pap. $50. PRO MEDIA
Lubans—leadership and management consultant, teacher, former library administrator, and longtime columnist for Library Leadership & Management—here collects 36 of his essays, “comprehensively revised for currency and relevance.” The essays touch on many aspects of leadership and management, from teams and coaching to quality, productivity, problem solving, communication, and more. All emphasize that democratic organizations and shared leadership are critical for successful organizations and fulfilled, productive employees. He combines anecdotes from his own experience with management research and case studies from outside libraryland (e.g., the airline industry, sports, and music) to show that autonomous, respected staff are more effective and provide better service than those subjected to command-and-control bureaucracies that stifle innovation and morale. Opinionated, engaging, and occasionally funny, Lubans challenges traditions, questions assumptions, and slays several sacred library cows. Many of these essays would be great fodder for discussion in a leadership group or staff meeting. VERDICT This refreshing, thought-provoking collection is highly recommended for library staff at all levels, as well as library school students.—Janet A. Crum, City of Hope Lib., Duarte, CA

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