The King County Library System Essay

The King County Library System Essay

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The King County Library System is the fifth largest library system in circulation in the United States. The current director of the KCLS, Bill Ptacek, started with the organization three years ago and is in the process of working towards a new strategic plan titled "The Year 2000 Plan, which has a long-term goal of integrating all the resources of the library system equally and to coordinate all the efforts to ensure it was providing the best possible service to the community. In the three years, Ptacek worked to expand the mission to cover services for the community to include children, life-long learning, career development, and literacy (Chell, 1996, pg.2). The reworking of the mission and services of KCLS was in full swing, but there were still many organizational concerns dealing with advocacy, public service motivation, and both human resource and structural problems.
Explain the use of advocacy & inquiry, or lack thereof that occurred throughout the case. How did structural concepts influence the use of advocacy and inquiry?
Bolman and Deal (2013) define advocacy as "including statements that communicate what an individual actually thinks, knows, wants or feels" and inquiry as "seeks to learn what others think, know, want or feel," (pg. 167). The case study exemplifies instances of employees voicing their feelings on matters, but few occasions where upper management inquired about the feelings of employees on changes to services and policies.
Employees in the Kings County Library System often raised their concerns through high advocacy towards the top-down hierarchy structure and how they felt few issues were resolved. Concerns discussed at the Public Service meetings often went to DAC for review, which frustrated branc...


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...ifferent issues and were unable to come together to make joint decisions for the greater good of the organization.
“It’s not surprising that there’s distrust and a lack of communication among managers.” Outside DAC meetings, we rarely work together,” said one DAC member. “There’s been no attempt at team building, and with eight managers with widely varying management styles, we’re bound to step on each other’s toes” (Chell, 1996, pg. 12).
In order to further foster public service motivation, the King County Library System requires the right structure to promote team building between the DAC and the branches and within the DAC itself. To become a high-performing team, The DAC must commit themselves by developing a common commitment to working relationships (Bolman & Deal, 2013, pg. 108). In order to come together, they must find the common ground they are lacking.

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