ASSOCIATES (vol. 6, no. 2, November 1999) -

Staff Development
in Academic Libraries

Margaret Oldroyd, ed.
Library Association Pub., London 1996
ISBN 1856041743

Review by

Jeanne Beck
Music Library Assistant
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

      Margaret Oldroyd has gathered 11 experts in the field of library staff development to share their ideas with us. Although written with the British library system in mind, all the essays in this compilation can be attributed to the American library system also. In fact the ALA and the US Dept of Education are often referred to.

      I particularly found informative the chapter written by Phil Sykes, "Staff development for library assistants". He looks towards the future in developing staff. He explains convergence and its accompanying changes. "What are we developing people towards and what kind of world are we training them for?" He compares the LA of the '60's and '70's to the 90's. He explores the revolutionary changes that took place during those decades and relates them to their consequences and how we respond to them.

      This book makes us look at what qualities are we looking for in new staff. Are we searching for staff experienced in an online catalog? Or instead are we seeking imaginative, self starting, forward looking staff that are able to adapt to change and cope positively to it.

      The eleven contributors have impressive credentials and each chapter is a gem. Other outstanding chapters include: "The learning framework", by Nick Pollard. He is the head of Library and Media Services at Kingston U.; "The context of convergence" by Professor Collier chair, British Council of Libraries and Information Advisory Committee and Chair Management Committee of the UK Office for Library Networking; and Margaret Oldroyd's chapter "The future". She is Staff Development Manger at DeMontfort University with reponsibility for HR management.

      Since this book was not in the collection of my library I ordered it through Document Delivery. After reading it, I also requested this book to be purchased for my library and look forward to seeing it added to our collection.

      This book has answered many of my nagging questions about my position in the library and it also stretched my idea of what libraries are all about. It explained the difference between staff development and staff training. Even if you are not especially interested in the topic of staff development, this is a must read book for all library support staff.

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