Vol. 4 No. 1 (2019)
Peer Reviewed Articles

From the bottom up: Engaging technical services staff in decision-making

Merri Hartse
Eastern Washington University
Rose Sliger Krause
Eastern Washington University
Andrea Langhurst Eickholt
Eastern Washington University

Published 2020-12-18


  • technical services, collaboration, management

How to Cite

Hartse, M., Krause, R., & Eickholt, A. (2020). From the bottom up: Engaging technical services staff in decision-making. Journal of New Librarianship, 4(1), 260–282. https://doi.org/10.21173/newlibs/6/21


Sweeping innovations in publishing models, shifts from print to electronic, and the expanding impact of consortia alliances have transformed technical services operations in academic libraries. Work of technical services units is transitioning from daily assignment of routine work by supervisors, to a dynamic project-based operation where both staff and management input is crucial to the success of the unit. The new environment requires all staff to actively engage in decision-making as part of a team of colleagues and managers, using evaluation, synthesis, and prioritization to meet project and operational goals. This article describes activities Eastern Washington University Libraries’ Collection Services unit has undertaken to involve and empower its classified staff in decision-making and priority-setting in order to drive innovation and change within the unit and library-wide. Unit activities have included redesigning physical space, instituting summer retreats, establishing unit ground rules, and ensuring classified staff involvement in hiring. These activities have laid the groundwork for a more collaborative and empowered team of paraprofessional and professional staff able to successfully anticipate and adapt to the rapidly evolving academic library environment.