Practical Tips for Developing Your Staff. By Tracy Pratchett and Gil Young. London: Facet, 2016. 277 p. Paper $65 (ISBN: 978-1-78330-018-1).

Libraries whose staff are engaged with outcomes stemming from professional development are poised to do great things. This seems to be the intention captured in Practical Tips for Developing Your Staff, a handbook that readers can consult to find suitable development opportunities for themselves or for people they supervise. The book draws upon various existing tools and resources and ties them together with practical ideas for developing or strengthening one’s skills and abilities.

The book is divided into three main sections. Section 1, “Theories,” describes ten theory-based models and provides a “Best For” section for each one. For example, both the Myers-Briggs and the DiSC personality tests are covered. For each model, the authors include a brief history, an explanation of how the tool works, and a list of additional sources of information. In section 2, “Infrastructure,” the focus is on practical items that individuals can use to hone their own skills or to develop an organization’s staff. This section covers topics such as how to enhance exit interviews, conduct team meetings effectively, and provide productive feedback, among many others. The items in this section are all arranged in the same format, which includes tables, a “Best For” section, a list of issues to consider, and suggestions for further reading. The last section, “Activities and Tools,” encompasses almost seventy items, including attending conferences, engaging in communities of practice, coaching, working collaboratively, and so forth. As in the previous sections, the items are formatted identically to aid the reader. Although the book contains many acronyms, a convenient glossary is provided at the beginning of the book. A helpful index is also included.

Most examples used in this book feature libraries in the United Kingdom. However, there are a few elements of American library culture throughout. This resource will be useful to librarians wishing to try something new in developing their own careers or their employees’ skills and abilities. The book is likely to be most beneficial for middle managers and those who work in human resources or organizational development. This volume’s organizational structure lends itself to use as a reference book or on an a-la-carte basis.—Hector Escobar, Director of Education and Information Delivery, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio


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