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From Librarian to Proficient Manager: The Journey of Public Library Front-Line Managers

Leininger, Michele A (2015) From Librarian to Proficient Manager: The Journey of Public Library Front-Line Managers. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study of the transition of public librarians to front-line managers and how they build proficient knowledge, skills, and behaviors describes the context in which the managers learn, adapt, and grow as well as their internal analyses and syntheses that led to observable and demonstrable actions and serves as a critical foundational step in public library management research that does not currently exist. As a qualitative descriptive case study with embedded subunits, this research was designed to unpack the steps participants took in learning to become managers, as well as how they interacted with colleagues and the organization to become proficient.
The case study involved twenty-one participants from a population of 30 managers at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and was conducted in two phases. In phase one, participants responded to three structured diary entries; in phase two, the researcher conducted two in-depth interviews with ten participants chosen from phase one. Diary entries and interview transcripts were coded using Descriptive Coding as well as Provisional Coding based on two business studies. Hill’s Becoming a Manager and McCall, Lombardo, and Morrison’s Lessons of Experience provided a conceptual framework; the study findings, however, revealed two important differences: managers universally expressed pride, love of job, and service to others and affirmed the community’s role as a motivating factor.
The primary outcome of the study was the profiles created of the ten in-depth interviewees describing their journies from librarian to proficient manager. The narratives and data reveal that gaining knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become a proficient manager is multifaceted and complex. While there were an array of answers as unique as the individuals who participated, there were some similarities: observing and identifying models (former bosses, current supervisors, administrators, or peers), capitalizing on and learning from previous experiences, and actively working to become proficient particularly in areas that are personally difficult.
The uniqueness of this study is that it provides one of the first glimpses into the day-to-day nature of the complexity of the public library environment in which managers must learn to operate successfully.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Leininger, Michele
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBiagini, Mary K.biagini@pitt.eduBIAGINI
Committee MemberCorrall, Sheilascorrall@pitt.eduSCORRALL
Committee MemberTomer, Christingerctomer@pitt.eduCTOMER
Committee MemberSullivan,
Date: 6 January 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 December 2014
Approval Date: 6 January 2015
Submission Date: 12 December 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 407
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: public library management; public library managers; public libraries; profiles
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2015 17:04
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:26


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