Innovation in Public Libraries – For Alison Miller’s class at iSchool, Syracuse University

canadawater

I am very glad and proud to connect with the future of the profession: MLIS students at iSchool, Syracuse University for a talk about innovation in public libraries. Thank you for your time – please feel free to contact me with follow up questions and your views on this topic.

Things I covered in my talk:

Technology and innovation (briefly)
I am working on 23 Mobile things. An internal learning project at my Library that will get a global edition – We aim to teach staff basic app knowledge within the Apple environment and spark curiosity – But also look for ideas that can generate innovation in our reference service and how we reach out to our Community online. The project is open source so you can adapt it. There will be android version in the international edition -You can make the windows mobile version if you like.

Also: Read watch play an international reading group that has a blog and monthly Twitter chats about a given topic is an example of tech innovation to broaden reach and scope of a project.

Leadership and innovations
I am head of development at my Library. A title that in a way makes no sense at all because no one sits in a corner and innovates. If you have one person to innovate in your organization – you are doing it wrong. In my talk I will share thoughts about innovation culture in libraries.

Also: we used LEGO serious play to work with innovation for our Strategic plan.

Mission and Vision statements and innovation
My library has been working with vision and slogan (if not mission) We had the LEGO Serious Play part and all staff was part of the process of working with the vision and how we could make it visible in what we do for our community. Our vision roughly translates to:

Guldborgsund-libraries wants to give added value to our guests no matter where they are  physically or digitally in the areas of cultural experience, learning and knowledge.

Our slogan: Guldborgsund-libraries – More than you can imagine …

Reference Services and innovation
We try to think learning in everything we do and every way we connect with our community. This shapes the way we meet people and how we answer questions. We have a learning area in the heart of the library and try to fascilitate knowledge sharing within the community.
Also: we did a roaming librarian project a while back and we might take it up again soon. It is a simple and good way to connect with people… 

The librarians used a cart and had some books and a lot of info about the library, about online services, Library programs, the children’s library etc with them… They had a Blackberry from which they could access the library catalogue, check out books and register new members. That was the reason we got the idea – because that was possible. They did not check out many books – but they got us a few new members and a lot of good publicity.
Last fall we did the same thing when our book mobile was  part of a culture evening in the city. Two librarians were on the streets to meet people and tell them about the book mobile. We had a contest for adults and one for children there – and we handed out a lot of info on the library.

I did a very short post a while back about this – Where you can see “The ladies in red” with the mini library – See it here

Our members are our guests
The term guests is not strictly internal terminology but we could do more about communicating it to the public.
We will have some changes in the way we meet people in the main library this fall and the way we make our guests feel at home will be part of the planning process. The main shift I can mention is that everybody is more focused on how we meet people and not only on the right answer – but also how it is delivered. I think it is incredible how much actually changes when you change the terminology. Food for thought.

What I did not mention
Innovation happens when you connect with people who think different than yourself. People from other professions and people from other cultures. That is one of the reasons I work with global librarianship – because I think it is inspiring and sparks innovation in my own community. We try to work with a lot of non library partners and I love what happens when we do – We work with the local museum, music school etc and with people from other fields like universities on a gamification project I will share more about soon.

Your feedback inspires
I feel so priviliged to get the chance to connect with you because you have chosen to be in this field and your ideas are highly appreciated – so go out there and participate in making libraries better… Keep the good stuff, change the bad stuff – and tell me and others all about it…

2 thoughts on “Innovation in Public Libraries – For Alison Miller’s class at iSchool, Syracuse University”

  1. Thank you Jan, for taking the time to inspire us on the other side of the world. I love the collaborative way you approach innovation, with curiosity and honesty. I look forward to learning from you more over the years, and hope to visit your library some day :-)

    1. Thank you so much Carlie. I am glad it was useful. You are welcome at my library any time :)
      I will keep looking for inspiration from students and try to live up to the “A future librarian’s promise” because that was one of the things that really inspired me last year.

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