Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nurturing Innovation

I attended the Nurturing Innovation session presented by Sari Feldman (Director) and Tracy Strobel (Deputy Director) of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. I thought it would be interesting to hear what the #2 library in the country has to say! They have adapted the concept of “Good to Great” from the business world to the library world. Their attitude is- even though we’re always ranked highly, we can still do better.

Here’s a cool thing- they are working closely with Nancy Pearl. She spends a week each month with them, training their staff on reader’s advisory and conducting programs for library customers!

I came away from this session (and the entire conference) feeling pretty lucky to work for CML, mainly because what other library systems consider innovation, we consider business as usual. Not to minimize the accomplishments of Cuyahoga County, but almost everything they mentioned, we already do! They stressed that ideas can come from all levels of the organization, and they’ll try anything, as long as it fits in with the library’s mission. This culture of nurturing innovation is something that I see everyday. For example, when I got back to work from the conference, I found that Dragana Pjevac, one of our CSS’s at Whetstone, had created a staff wiki! Immediately staff members started jumping in, adding documents, and collaborating. Learn & Play has given our team the confidence to create, share, and help one another without hesitation.

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