Presented at the New Librarians' Symposium 6, Brisbane, on 10 February 2013.
Passionate about projects!
Potential, pitfalls, and how to build a career in
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License.
Being able to manage projects successfully is the reality of
our work as librarians.
We are frequently implementing new services and redefining
existing services for our patrons. We are constantly upgrading
our library systems to provide the latest technologies [...and...]
updating our library spaces to give our community members
an environment they find inviting, comfortable and
All of these activities involve project work and the need for
library staff to have PM knowledge and skills.
Wamsley, L. H. (2009). Controlling project chaos: Project management for library staff. PNLA
Quarterly, 73(2), 5–27.
Youngok Choi and Edie Rasmussen (2009). What Qualifications and Skills are Important for Digital
Librarian Positions in Academic Libraries? A Job Advertisement Analysis. The Journal of Academic
Librarianship, Vol. 35. No. 5. pp. 457-467.
In a 2009 analysis of digital library job vacancies
advertised in College & Research Library News:
20% of ads mentioned project management knowledge
10% asked for project management experience
A 2010 brief article in American Libraries suggests that
while project management may be becoming more
important, many librarians are not well prepared to lead
Most attendees at the author's workshops were
‘accidental’ project managers
assigned to lead library projects but without any formal
project management training.
Revels, I. (2010). Managing digital projects: “Accidental” project managers can benefit from following
these useful tips. American Libraries, 41(4), 48–50.
Some local accidental project managers...
Credits (clockwise from T-L):http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=11780970
For me the best part of working on
projects is the variety. You often get to
work with people outside of your
‘normal’ work group...with people who
are experts in that area. There is the
potential to work at different places on
similar types of projects, or within
your organisation in different work
I am much tighter on monitoring,
review of stages & lessons learnt.
Project management teaches you to
chunk things and review at every
stage. It helps with clarity of thought,
and has taught me how to do good
I've acquired a few unexpected skills that I'm very grateful for: I'm now
very flexible when it comes to what I do and the areas I work in. A new
project will lead you in a new direction, inviting you to take up a challenge
and learn a new set of skills while applying those skills you previously
I find that I am not at all insecure
about the future of my career. In the
past, people stayed in one job for 40
years, seeking security in one job.
Those days are gone.
Project-based work is very
empowering because it relies
purely on the individual. That
person must be confident, flexible
and highly skilled in many
The main problem for me is
burnout - am tired of having
to push people constantly.
Would rather just do stuff
Getting management to
understand the need to resource a
You are working with people who are
contributing as part of their business-as-usual
- getting them to appreciate deadlines &
dependencies is very difficult.
Getting prepared (1)
Getting prepared (2)
As part of your library education
What type of project management – PRINCE2 vs
PMBOK, 'waterfall' vs 'agile'?
General vs library-specific
Outside vs in-house
Getting prepared (3)
On the job
Communities of practice
Just do it!
Ingrid Mason Twitter