70 Strategic Human Resource Planning for Academic Libraries
of the academic libraries professional acumen. Recognizing the need for resource al-
location toward talent development is an important leadership component that should
be part of a strategic plan for any academic library.
7.1 Being the change agent
Cashman (2008) speaks of change as a constant in our lives in which we have no
choice but to be part of a changing world and environment. The part of change that
does present a choice is adapting and learning to new and ongoing changes. Leaders
should demonstrate an increasingly comfortable view of uncertainty and expected
change. The better at adapting to challenges related to change, and learning the new
skills needed to execute the change, the better someone is at proving leadership to
others within the organization or profession.
In early May of 2014, ALA held an invitational summit at the Library of Congress
in Washington, DC to discuss the future of libraries. Conversation was inspired by
five nationally known speakers from outside the library profession to discuss the chal-
lenges that libraries face for the future. Many of the challenges targeted and discussed,
included the need for change and revisioning, in order to rebrand what libraries are.
This was reflected back onto library staff that will be charged to “think differently” and
“respond to user needs openly” in order to safeguard the future. Joan Frye Williams,
who documented the summit, indicated that the profession will need to learn to em-
brace risks, conflicts, and uncertainties in order to grow and move forward.
As the profession changes, leadership strategies must be put into place to support
the change process. Change can be painful and to be effective people must be focused
and pay attention to what is changing. A tool that can support, not just a change, but a
culture of change within the organization, is coaching. An organizational competency
that can lead to successful change is to develop an internal coaching program, estab-
lishing coaches as expert change agents, per David Rock of Results Coaching System.
Rock utilizes a blended learning approach to train coaches within an organization to
enable and support people through the changes that need to occur. This is just an ex-
ample of what should be a proactive approach to driving change.
There can be many approaches to initiating organizational change as addressed by
VanDuinkerken and Mosley (2011). They identify organizational change as occurring
frequently and often, which means the organization maintains a sense of flexibility or
as a last resort, which would indicate when the organization does change it is dramatic
and scary. As leadership prepares an organization for change, it must also recognize
the organizational culture that has grown up around them. Having a flexible organiza-
tion that anticipates and accepts change easily will be a larger cultural difference from
the organization that resists making the changes as all.
Academic libraries in this time of change need people to lead them who can see
not only what is going on but also where it is headed. Riggs (1998) explains visionary
leadership and why it is important during period of change. He wrote that “visionary
leadership will bring clarity to the library’s purpose, a renewed spirit of excitement
to the staff’s daily work, pride in the quality of service delivered, an environment