Librarianship is a service profession and not a bottom-line oriented business. As such, librarians don't normally assign a high priority to efficiency of operations; however, opportunities to improve daily jobs and enhance services are being overlooked every day. Advances in technology drive change at a rapid pace and keeping up is both expensive and time consuming. Tight budgets have made keeping up with technology especially difficult. And while some activities in libraries, such as in-person ready reference and circulation of books and journals have declined, many libraries continue to report increases in the demand for services and resources. The rapid transformation from paper to digital documents is also driving changes in libraries. Today the incentive for examining and streamlining library workflows and the processes and procedures that comprise them should be compelling, but that doesn't seem to be the case for many librarians. Streamlining Library Services presents library managers and staff with the tools necessary to analyze and streamline their library's services. It presents a variety of tools and techniques that can be applied to improve library operations and assist library staff in their efforts to identify what work is done, how much time it takes, and what it costs. These efforts can be used to streamline library processes and, where appropriate, help to free dollar resources to initiate or enhance services that merit higher priority.
Richard M. Dougherty is the founding publisher and editor of the Journal of Academic Librarianship, was the Director of Libraries at the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley, was on the faculty at Syracuse University and the University of Michigan, and served as President of ALA. He has served as a consultant to numerous libraries striving to introduce organizational change and conducted many workshops on change management.