The fun house is typically found in the amusement park along the midways and pa-
trons are expected to engage and actively interact with various devices designed to sur-
prise, challenge, and amuse the visitor. Funhouses are participatory attractions, where
visitors enter and move around under their own power. Including aspects of a playful
obstacle course, such as the “barrel of fun” which is intended to distort conventional
perceptions and startle people with unpredictable circumstances within an atmosphere
of wacky whimsicality. Likewise, in drawing a comparison of the fun house as the
larger institution and the “barrel of fun” as navigating through the human resource
concerns of your organization you can see how conventional wisdom does not always
work as things are changing. The best way to get through, not only the fun house but
also especially the “barrel of fun” is to have a plan, that can demonstrate flexibility
and strategic purpose.
Library leadership representing the profession, have issued many proposals or pre-
dictions as to the trend and the expectations of the future of libraries, in some cases
academic libraries in particular. Libraries are moving from a purchasing role to a cu-
ration role and directing resources, primarily space, money, and staffing, away from
legacy collections and services, and toward more user-focused activities (Long and
Schonfeld, 2010). Thus, the need for strategic planning is great and should be em-
braced with enthusiasm and respect.
To be strategic, it is to alter a path of normal flow to make a purposeful change. In
business, this can mean to alter processes or methods of manufacturing, distribution
and marketing, and any number of functions or activities. This changes things, such as
how you manage them or what the outcomes could be or how it impacts other items?
The planning aspect becomes defining those strategies, giving direction, and making
decisions on where you want this strategy to take the organization. With human re-
source considerations, strategies can change what you expect of your people, who you
hire going forward, how you guide them, and what can be achieved with a strategically
directed staff?
Changes are occurring rapidly to the competency needs of librarians as society
moves into an increasingly digital world. Examples of the impact on hiring needs can
be seen in studies conducted in a variety of venues. Within academic libraries, some
studies indicate that additional nontraditional education is needed by practicing librar-
ians or current LIS students to obtain the skills they will need going forward (Tzoc
and Millard, 2011). Other studies incorporate the behavioral skills needed that will
be required in developing the types of relationships needed in a digital environment
(Marion, 2001).

Get Strategic Human Resource Planning for Academic Libraries now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.