Answer the questions below. This is a management of information Center course and the emphasis is on the way forward.
Miss Jones retires
After a very long tenure Miss Jones has given notice of their retirement. She was approaching the age of 70 and felt it was time to step back from her position as Information Officer of the Kansas Ecology Research and Education Center (KEREC) at White City, exactly 57 miles from the campus. The letter indicated she would of course be available to teach her successor the ropes to ensure that the information systems and services that she had built up at the KEREC over the last 46 years would be properly continued. For this purpose she was prepared to work there on a part-time basis for the next two or three years.
Ms. Jones possesses an honors BS degree and a teaching diploma, she had spent two years teaching in an elementary school, where she had been bitterly unhappy, before being appointed as a laboratory technician at the Wheatfield Prairiedog Research Station, the forerunner of KEREC. From the laboratory she had gradually taken on the responsibility for the Research Stationâ??s modest collections of journals, monographs, handbooks and technical reports until she had left the laboratory altogether to become the Research Stationâ??s Information Officer. In this capacity she had organized its disparate information materials into what had become a highly regarded Information Center. She developed extensive exchange agreements with other research institutions specializing in pasture science, grasslands and prairie ecology all over the world to assemble a truly impressive collection in this specialized field. Although she does not posess a formal degree in librarianship, she had organized this collection using the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), which she had discovered while on a vacation in Europe, and of which she had become a devotee. All the materials in the Information Center were classified by UDC, which allowed for very specific (but also very long) classification numbers. She had single-handedly built up an impressive card index containing abstracts of book chapters, technical reports and journal articles.
In the early 1970s, under the guidance of her mentor, the late Professor Thomas, the index had been transferred to a mini-computer database, which was later migrated to a desktop PC. From 1975 to 1987 recent items from the index were listed in a current awareness column in the Journal of Wheatfield Prairie Dog Ecology. Miss Joneâ??s assistance could be found acknowledged in numerous articles, reports and monographs. One would have expected her database to follow the pattern of other similar databases which were made more widely available on CD-ROM in the 1980s and later online, but this development did not occur. Professor Thomas had feuded with the Editorial Board of the Journal (which was subsequently absorbed into another journal) and as a result of the strained relations in the prairie research community, the Prairie Dog Research Station had been somewhat marginalized until some years after his death. In 1992 the Research Station was incorporated as a unit in Great Plains Universityâ??s School of Environmental Sciences to become the Kansas Ecology Research and Education Center (KEREC). Senior and postgraduate students in the School spent time doing fieldwork at KEREC, and a partnership was developed with the Bureau of Biological Resources of the U.S. Geological Survey and with the scientists and technicians based at the nearby Mullen Falls State State Park. All this had greatly increased the clientele of the Information Center, which had become part of the Great Plains University Library system.
Nominally, Miss Jones reported to Mike, but in practice she was a law unto herself. Mike had found his occasional visits to KEREC painful experiences. Miss Jones was disdainful of librarians, and had no wish to see her information centre adopt library methods and procedures. Any mention of library management principles or ideas elicited contempt. She continued to maintain her index herself, using an essentially obsolete database system, complaining that she was overworked and unable to keep up, but steadfastly refusing to consider upgrading to more modern technology. Instead, assistants and student interns were appointed to help with routine duties, but none were trained to take on indexing duties. None of them lasted very long.
From a library management perspective the situation at PEREC was problematic. The ratio of library staff to clients at PEREC, was at least 30% higher than the average for the University Library. Thanks to long service under an older employment dispensation, Miss Richards was quite highly paid. The ever-changing assistants and interns added to the high cost of serving what was essentially quite a small unit. There were serious doubts about the value and viability of Ms Jonesâ??s index. Surely other existing databases covered the field adequately? But the politics of the situation were difficult. While the managers in the University Library found her difficult to deal with, Miss Jones was fiercely devoted to her clients and she still had a band of loyal supporters among the senior researchers and academics at KEREC and further afield. She was known to be difficult, especially to juniors, but at the same time she was acknowledged to be immensely dedicated and knowledgeable. Both Hardy and Flaherty had other things to worry about and rather hoped that the problem would go away by itself when, as was inevitable, Miss Jones retired.
And thatâ??s exactly what was now about to happen.
â??Well, Mike ,â? Harley said. â??Hereâ??s the chance youâ??ve been waiting for. This couldnâ??t come at a better time. Weâ??re facing a budget crunch, and hereâ??s our chance to bring the KEREC Information Center into line with our overall staffing and cost levels. Rationalize, integrate it into the Library, cut costsâ?.
They thought to replace Jones with a qualified librarian, and at lower cost. Or evenâ?¦ what about a virtual library? Put the index online â?" if we still want it â?" scan all the reports, turn her Information Center into a virtual library, like a digital branch library. We can service them from here. That would save even more.
OK, and what will you do with Jones? Sheâ??s expecting to come back and run the show part-time. And donâ??t forget her devoted followers.â?
â??Zack [Director of the KEREC] is a fan of hers, alright,â? they conceded. â??But heâ??s someone we can talk to.â?
He glanced at his watch. â??Damn!â? he said, â??Iâ??m supposed to be in a Deans Meeting in three minutes. Give this some thought, will you, and letâ??s talk again on Monday.â?
Itâ??s Thursday afternoon. Matt Flaherty has three days to think about the opportunities that have suddenly opened up. What plan of action should he put forward when he meets with Hardy again on Monday?
Here are some aspects you may want to consider, but you need not restrict yourself to them:
1. What decisions have to be taken?
2. What information needs to be collected?
3. Who should be involved?
4. What to do about Miss Jones
5. What management principles might be relevant and helpful here
When I first read this situation, I reflected on my own dissertation, The Development of the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University, 1996. It is a study of excellence also since the Department has been ranked number 1 in dance since such rankings began in the 1960s. The department was directed by Helen P. Alkire who graduated from Ohio State with her Master's degree in 1938. At that point in time, there were not a lot of women faculty chairs and Helen, who grew up in a family of 7 brothers, had the wit and charm to deal with University members with grace and charm. There were, however, several who were jealous of her because she always had her Department's development at heart. When her dancers needed more space to dance and no one at the University could or would help her, someone said she should "go downtown and get some space." She understood that to mean go to the then ...
appropriate methods for review of employees