Library Planning Research

Assembling Your Knowledge Management Team

It is good practice to periodically examine the “roster” of your digital or physical library team, to seek ways to improve it. When developing or evaluating a team, each member will have certain characteristics that make them well-suited for a certain role. We run organizational development workshops to help libraries and digital asset teams maximize their human resources.

According to ACA’s 45 years of building program research, successful library organizations are made up of a diverse mix of job titles, which require diverse human characteristics. Librarians and Knowledge Workers can be specialists, reference people or technical services pros.  Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD work with library staff and knowledge management teams to identify and shape the teams and increase effectiveness.

Below are characteristics of each team member; we developed these based on the Belbin team building framework.

Resource Investigator

  • Their inquisitive nature helps them find ideas to bring back to the team.
  • Strengths: Outgoing, enthusiastic. A natural networker – the go-to person to test a new opportunity.
  • Challenges: Over-optimistic; can lose interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.
  • A good person to follow up and build on research and delivery partnerships.

Team Worker

  • The glue that keeps the team moving, using their versatility to identify the work required. The person that will complete the work on behalf of the team.
  • Strengths: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. A great listener who can avert friction between team members.
  • Challenges: Indecisive in crunch situations; avoids confrontation between strong willed team members.
  • Will be hesitant to make unpopular decisions.


  • Helps the team focus the library service objectives. A person who can draw out other team members and delegate work.
  • Strengths: Mature, confident, identifies talent and builds on it. Goals setter.
  • Challenges: Leaders can be manipulative; they can offload work to other members reducing team effectiveness.
  • Can delegate work others, leaving themselves with limied tasks or challenges.

Management Consultant

  • A highly creative person that is good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
  • Strengths: Creative, imaginative, dynamic-thinking, concept / ideas generator and problem solver.
  • Challenges: Might not be able to focus; may be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
  • Can forget the good ideas and try to develop additional ones when none is necessary.

Assessment Evaluator

  • Assessment professional; a good person to make impartial judgement when required. A good person to weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
  • Strengths: Sober, strategic and discerning. A person that can see the options and recommend next steps accurately.
  • Challenges: Can be critical, lacks the drive and ability to inspire others.
  • Not all can make a quick decision. This staff member can be slow to come to decisions.


  • The project specialist has in-depth knowledge in a key delivery area.
  • Strengths: Dedicated, a self-starter and always moving forward with work. They will research and apply their knowledge management skills.
  • Challenges: May stick to the technicalities and not address the goals and objectives.
  • Can research a topic and overload if you don’t support their drive to find solutions to information resource needs/integration.

Management Shaper

  • The staff member that will drive the team. This staff member will ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
  • Strengths: Can handle the pressure and deliver. A dynamic staff member that has the drive and courage to overcome any knowledge management obstacles.
  • Challenges: A person who isn’t afraid to get in your face; Can offend people’s feelings.
  • Sometimes  need to get things done and they get aggressive, which can be harnessed to efficiencies when recognized.


  • A knowledge manager that can develop a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
  • Strengths: Efficient and Practical, reliable and driving. This staff member turns ideas into actions and organizes work that needs to be done.
  • Challenges: Inflexible nature can be slow to respond to new possibilities.
  • Can slow down positive change if they are too inflexible.


  • Every project needs a person who will polish and scrutinize knowledge management work for errors; Research requires the highest standards of quality control.
  • Strengths: Searching out errors is natural to a conscientious knowledge worker. It is important to finish the project with defined outcomes including key performance indicators.
  • Challenges: Knowledge workers can be reluctant to delegate tasks which slows down progress.
  • Perfection is a strength until it impedes the delivery of knowledge resources.