Project management

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Management By the Book: illustrated examples of management techniques from our favorite picture books


Little Red Hen. by Byron Barton (HarperCollins, 1993).

“Who will help me?, “ is a familiar question from our old friend the hen. As she moves from seed to the final product, little red hen gets more and more frantic. Delegation is clearly not her strength. We have much to learn about staffing, delegation and the ingredients necessary for successful project management from looking at this classic story as a cautionary tale of management gone wrong.


Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells (Dial, 1997).

Max and Ruby are working together to make Grandma a birthday cake but these siblings have vastly different ways of communicating. When Max uses his unique style to get his ideas across the result is a happy bunny AND a great cake compromise. All managers can relate to the challenges of different communication styles.


Traveling Musicians (Brementown Musicians) by Brothers Grimm with drawings by Hans Fisher (Harcourt Brace, 1944)

A folktale about a donkey, a rooster, a cat and a dog who join forces to foil a crime, is a vivid depiction of collaboration at it’s finest. Differences make for tricky but strong partnerships and this happy tale gives all of us struggling to piece together our own collaborative projects with organizations not like ourselves hope and encouragement.


Olivia and Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer (Atheneum 2000, 2001)

Olivia knows a lot of things. She knows how to be the perfect library advocate. There is much to emulate in this precious pig’s spunky personality. Olivia gives us all something to strive for.


Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (HarperCollins , 1945)

This deceptively simple story is the perfect metaphor for the concepts of mentoring and “growing our own.” As our profession grays and our roles in society and community change, we need to plant our own seeds of hope, promise and passion to create the next generation of our profession.


Seven Blind Mice. by Ed Young (Philomel, 1992)

The process of evaluation can be as big a mystery to us as the elephant was to the seven blind men. In this timeless story, seven blind mice help us illuminate the process of discovery, of seeing the whole from careful examine of the pieces we can collect. In turn, we can use this example to understand how to build our own stories in the minds of our customers through careful explanation and presentation of the pieces of our mission.

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