I rather enjoyed this article from the New York Times Books section. It is about how Americans are reading a lot more fiction, especially romance and science fiction. I rather like that people are reading more romance. People need a little more romance.
Principles of Scientific Management Frederick W. Taylor
I read this book online for free, it was written in 1911. Frederick W. Taylor was considered the father of efficiency in management. Many people find his ideas quite controversial as well as demeaning to labor. The ideas which came out were not what I expected. I felt that many of the ideas which were expressed by Frederick W. Taylor seemed to be exaggerated. He often says that where they were applied they were 100% effective which sounds very unbelievable.
He did numerous time motion studies at Bethlehem Steel where he timed how long it took laborers to do certain actions. What was really interesting and almost counterintuitive was that he found that people need breaks every couple hours, and that an 8 1/2 hour work day was as efficient as a ten hour work day in terms of productivity. Still he described workers as being not that intelligent.
He also describes how it is necessary to adjust the tools to the job, redesigning things like shovels into multiple varieties depending on the type of material and the job being done. He also describes a process of advancement which we follow now, describing starting as a laborer, advancing to a mechanics helper, to becoming a mechanic. It reads ike civil service advancement.
The issues he is describing in the study don't seem that different from the issues happening in todays workplace. One of his central themes is that you must pay laborers more if they are going to be more productive. It is one of the few incentives that work. He also states that management must do half of the job and labor must do the other half in terms of productivity and planning. He is as hard on management as labor in this book. Management is expected to work directly with people to make the job more efficient and easy.
The book seems to have a lot of impractical idealism in it. There seems to be an underlying assumption that people will not take advantage of each other in a well run workplace and there is no need for unions if people are paid well and given the right atmosphere. Unfortunately, many of the ideas in this book can be abused easily like time motion studies, a goal of maximizing the amount of things being produced, and speeding up the workplace. There is not enough focus on quality, proper use of resources, and the problem of overproduction.
Another idea which he says is that profit sharing is not very practical because of the problem of losses. You can't expect laborers who are paid very little to give back to people who are earning far more than they are.
The major contention unions have with the ideas in this document is his intense push against what he calls soldiering ( slowing down the workplace ). I find this idea to be questionable. He describes a very divisive process of paying some people more to get them to speed up the workplace. It is very much a hard edged style of management.
This is a link to the book which I read on the web. The document is short and easy to read.
I read another very short work today. I got it from my local library. It was a nice day for me to walk up there. The guide is called Collection Management and Development Guide No. 8, Guide For Training Collection Development Librarians, edited by Susan L. Fales, American Library Association, c1996. The book is a bit dated, it could have used more content on selecting electronic materials and using the internet.
This is a short focused work of 61 pages. It tells you that the need for training in collection development is an immediate practical one. Then, it gives a variety of checklists of things which a librarian needs to show a new person selecting books, as well as what a collection development librarian is supposed to be doing. I really have not put together a three year plan like they suggest. It gave me a few ideas of things which I need to do. It is more of a checklist than anything else of things that you might need to do.
The guide reminded me to review the outstanding holds at my library and how they are being presented to us. Also, it has an interesting format for reviewing a library for collection purposes. I may photocopy the section in the book on this and fill it in. I would not recommend it unless you were looking for a checklist of what a collection development librarian does.
This afternoon, I watched some of the movie, The Fantastic Four while I was doing some stretching. I am enjoying the film, even though the critics panned it. I have also started reading We The Media Grassroots Journalism By The People For The People by Dan Gillmor. This book is supposed to have quite a bit about blogs as a source of news.