Sunday, June 3, 2018


  1. the action or process of innovating.
  2. _______________________________________________________________________

When thinking about innovation, make sure you include infusing innovative thinking in your staff.

Wirtz Labor Library Staff Recipients of the John Sessions Memorial Award Presented by the Reference and User Service Association of the American Library Association 2009
Wirtz Labor Library Staff
Recipients of the John Sessions Memorial Award
Presented by the Reference and User Service Association of the American Library Association
Staff should be able to:

  • Feel free to experiment, feel free to fail, feel free to succeed.
  • Analyze failures and celebrate what is learned from them.  
  • Always include those who live in poverty in your "innovative thinking."
  • Outreach to innovative leaders in the communities you are trying to reach. 
  • Work with these community leaders to gain insights to user information needs
  • Make sure innovative thinking is taking place in multiple languages.
  • Infuse Civics instruction in your innovative thinking. 
  • Infuse Social Justice via programming based on community needs.
  • Use technology when appropriate, but focus on people when innovating. 
  • Focus on more than just the needs of patrons who come into the library.
  • Base innovation on  community need. _________________________________________________________________________
Rainbow Family
  • What do they want?
    • Do we know what the community needs and wants?
  • How do they want it?
    • What formats do they need this information packaged in?
  • Where do they want it?
    • Will they come into the library for this information or will we deliver it somewhere?

We need to empower our communities by providing them the information they need in the places they want it and deliver it via the methods they prefer.   While this may seem outrageous to some, it is important to outreach to those who pay taxes for the library, but who don't think the library is relevant to their lives because the library is not providing the information they need.  This is not just the job of the outreach department of your library--it is the library's job!

  • How do we know what people need?
    • Ask them via the leaders of their communities.  
      • They can answer questions about community needs and survey their communities.
    • Do you know the leaders of the communities? 
      • These leaders can disseminate information to their communities for the library.
      • They are trusted already within their communities.
Mt. Angel Public Library
I once went into the Mt. Angel public library in Mt. Angel, Oregon.  I asked them about their Spanish collection.  They showed me a single shelf of books.  I asked them why there were so few and they replied, "Because Spanish speakers don't come into the library much."  I replied, "Well, maybe there is a reason!"
Woodburn Public Library
Woodburn Public Library
On the other hand, I went into the Woodburn, Oregon public library recently and they had a decent Spanish collection that was being heavily used by patrons.  Woodburn PL also have staff who are bilingual. 

Both Woodburn and Mt. Angel have large populations of Spanish speakers...

So empower your staff to innovate, but be strategic about who these innovations include and why your library is making them. 

Communicate these innovations to the community via several channels.

Does the community have a radio station in their language?

Can the library send someone to be interviewed on the radio in that language?

Stop AAPI Hate!