Hiral Patel has been working as a Librarian since 2006 in the Institute of Technology, Nirma University, Ahmedabad (India). Additionally, she also manages the Institute of Architecture library at the university. She started her career working as a Library Assistant with the Institute of Technology in the year 1995. As the in-charge chief librarian she co-ordinates, supervises and monitors the activities of six libraries belonging to different Institutes, which are a part of the University. She manages by leading her own team of five staff members in the NIT library and coordinating with fifteen staff members from the other institutional libraries.
She describes the management components of her work as a Librarian to Bhakti Gala:
My work day begins at 9:00 am with browsing of newspapers and important official mail. I scan and read all the information which I have received through RSS feeds. As I work in an academic library, special attention is given to educational news. I forward relevant news to concerned policy makers and higher management. Any general information useful for student and faculty fraternity is posted to them.
Replying to queries from students’ and faculty members’ regarding articles and books are addressed with the help of my colleagues. An important area of work for me is to check and supervise previous day’s work done by staff members, including monitoring statistics. Thereafter I check the library, staff availability; their current work duties etc. and discuss with them their progress on work assigned and sort out doubts if any. I have to often attend committee meetings regarding library and academic issues where I try to advocate my library to the maximum.
Resource management is crucial in the current environment of shrinking budgets. I assist my circulation counter staff and OPAC section personnel in helping students during rush hour when maximum users visit the library.
Problem solving is an integral component of my day to day operations. I conduct regular meetings with my staff to help in solving their work related problems. The difficult ILL (Inter library loan) queries have to be addressed by consulting and talking with other library professionals for availability of requested resources.
We organize library events every week such as creative topical displays, TED Talks, and arrange expert lectures in the library premises. I identify the key people to handle these events and follow up on the progress.
Communicating with other departments of the University like accounts, academic section, and exam section for specific issues is a crucial part of my work. Weekly interaction and negotiation with representatives of publishers and vendors for discussing new products are scheduled.
My day begins and ends with communication. As a manager I find that the key to successful leadership is effective communication and working with a motivated staff.
Here are some questions you might like to discuss with your partner:
- Do you have a management/leadership role in your library?
- Which management skills are you using?
- Which skills according to you are important for being an efficient leader?
- How do you perceive your own managers?
Bhakti Gala, ILN Content Officer