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Librarian to Governance
and Back Again
Alastair Flett
Deputy Director
University of Liverpool
Libraries, Museums and
Galle...
CV
• 1996-97: Graduate Trainee at University of Kent at Canterbury
• 1997-98: UCL
• 1998-99: NHS
• 1999-02: University of ...
The Liverpool Structure
VC
PVC Education
PVC Research
& Impact
PVC Cultural
Engagement
EPVC HLS EPVC HSS EPVC S&E COO
Dir ...
PS Misconceptions of Libraries
• Stereotypes
• Books
• Static
• A requirement rather than a strategic driver
• A bit too a...
Library Misconceptions of PS
• The Death Star
• Insensitive
• Not inclined to consult
• Arbitrary
• Driven by the bottom l...
Main Areas of Difference: Structural
• Institutional awareness
• Robustness
• Accountability
Main Areas of Difference: Modus
Operandi
• Discussion vs headlong leap
• The need for consensus vs the need to do
• Commun...
Main Areas of Difference: Characteristics
• Perfectionism vs good enough
• Risk aversion vs have a go
• Intelligence: crea...
Main Areas of Similarity
• The University’s overarching objectives
• Professionalism
• Drive for excellence/motivation
Why is it Like This?
• Separate buildings, separate lives?
• Respect?
• Esteem from academics?
• A fear of The Other?
• Na...
Keeping a COO Happy
• No embarrassment
• No surprises
• No unilateralism
• Solutions
• Understanding you’re part of the wh...
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From Librarian to Corporate Governance and Back Again - experiences of moving from the library world to working alongside the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor before returning to the library world.

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Alastair Flett University of LiverpoolThe session will be based on personal reflections on a career that began in NHS and university libraries, and has incorporated a variety of senior institution-wide roles in university management before returning to libraries as Deputy Director: Libraries, Museums and Galleries at the University of Liverpool. Common misconceptions university managers might have about libraries - and vice versa - will be explored, along with a comparative look at cultural norms and ways of working in a university’s ‘centre’ and its library.

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From Librarian to Corporate Governance and Back Again - experiences of moving from the library world to working alongside the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor before returning to the library world.

  1. 1. Librarian to Governance and Back Again Alastair Flett Deputy Director University of Liverpool Libraries, Museums and Galleries April 2019
  2. 2. CV • 1996-97: Graduate Trainee at University of Kent at Canterbury • 1997-98: UCL • 1998-99: NHS • 1999-02: University of Manchester • 2002-10: Planning • 2010-14: Executive Team • 2014-17: Corporate Governance • 2017- Deputy Director
  3. 3. The Liverpool Structure VC PVC Education PVC Research & Impact PVC Cultural Engagement EPVC HLS EPVC HSS EPVC S&E COO Dir LMG
  4. 4. PS Misconceptions of Libraries • Stereotypes • Books • Static • A requirement rather than a strategic driver • A bit too academic…
  5. 5. Library Misconceptions of PS • The Death Star • Insensitive • Not inclined to consult • Arbitrary • Driven by the bottom line • Something Other
  6. 6. Main Areas of Difference: Structural • Institutional awareness • Robustness • Accountability
  7. 7. Main Areas of Difference: Modus Operandi • Discussion vs headlong leap • The need for consensus vs the need to do • Community vs team • Journey vs outcome
  8. 8. Main Areas of Difference: Characteristics • Perfectionism vs good enough • Risk aversion vs have a go • Intelligence: creative vs linear • Identification: School, University or PS Department • Long serving vs high turnover
  9. 9. Main Areas of Similarity • The University’s overarching objectives • Professionalism • Drive for excellence/motivation
  10. 10. Why is it Like This? • Separate buildings, separate lives? • Respect? • Esteem from academics? • A fear of The Other? • Natural selection?
  11. 11. Keeping a COO Happy • No embarrassment • No surprises • No unilateralism • Solutions • Understanding you’re part of the whole • Targeted good news

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