Be A Great Boss: One Year to Success!

HakalaAusperk_200x300Moving 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. Here are some reviews:


“An excellent book and workbook to help all leaders, but specifically library bosses. Loved the workbook approach, and the information culled from a variety of sources (including From Good to Great). The worksheets make you apply practical steps to sometimes abstract ideas. Would definitely use/read/do another workbook by the author.”

– from goodreads


“Part of the ALA Guides for the Busy Librarian series, this is a convenient self-study guide that offers an opportunity to learn more about the art of management. As the author points out, this is a workbook, not a textbook, and as the title indicates, it is set up to allow for a year’s worth of lessons. The material is organized under 12 broad subject categories, such as “Attitude,” “Staffing,” and “Planning,” and within each of those, there are four lessons, each consisting of a brief introduction to a topic followed by a worksheet. For example, the section entitled “Success with Stakeholders” covers your board, your community, your industry peers, and your staff leaders. 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.”

Carolyn Mulac on Booklist Online

“However much one learns while studying for that MSLS degree, some skills are learned on the job—perhaps with the help of a guide like Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success by Catherine Hakala-Ausperk. Part of the ALA Guides for the Busy Librarian series, the book provides a month-by-month program, starting with “Attitude” and ending with “Your Future.” In between are short chapters on hiring and firing, customer service, planning, budgeting, and other familiar management topics. Each chapter includes a worksheet. Though this won’t take the place of more in-depth guides, it offers a digestible approach to the basics.”

Mary Ellen Quinn, “Librarian’s Library,” American Libraries Magazine

Broken down by week and month, this workbook takes readers through a year of “boss” training. The areas of study are tailored specifically to library management. This includes examining attitude, staffing, communication, funding, training, and other essential roles that managers and directors play in libraries. 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 th eend of each week Areas that are more process-oriented, likeing planning and funding, will likely require more reading and training, but these lessons provide a strong starting point.

Ideal for beginning managers, this book might also prove a nice refresher for experienced managers. With so many topics to cover, this will not answer every question, but it might help professionals get a handle on areas of management they have not examined before. The tone is friendly and the pace manageable for self-study. Pieces could also be used i group training. This professional reference is recommended for any type of library.”

From VOYA, August 16, 2011

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk has a most engaging, breezy writing style. She writes as if you and she are old friends, sitting having coffee and sharing insights. As the first sentence of Catherine’s introduction states, “This is not a textbook.” Instead, it is a self-paced workbook whose purpose is to help you become a great boss…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…”

From “Journal of Hospital Librarianship,” Volume 11, Issue 3, 2011.

Table of Contents

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