This week’s content really warms my heart. As a theme throughout all of my reflections so far, it’s been really fantastic to see how innovative libraries can be and how this type of forward-thinking is really forcing us to think critically about how we can better engage with the communities we serve. What’s really admirable and inspiring to me is seeing evidence of what is essentially quite radical – taking a look at the fundamental structure of our institutions, having the courage to acknowledge what may need to change, and completely uprooting the things that aren’t working despite being unable to fully anticipate the outcome.
I was really struck by Pam Smith’s words in the Anythink Strategic Plan: “The idea of a library is morphing from a place of books to a place where the community connects with information and creates content.” This is really a starting place for shifting public perceptions of libraries as outdated, unneeded institutions.
I also really love the vivid, imaginative, and inspirational language used in their Staff Manifesto. Ensuring that all involved realize their individual worth regardless of formal ranking is so incredible to me, I’ve never actually seen anything like this in any type of workplace. They really value their employees, volunteers, administration, and patrons. Additionally, the concept of everyone being on a level playing field facilitates in a working environment where everyone feels like they are important and can contribute their input in important decision-making. As Smith remarks in her Architects of Dreams presentation, what I’ve described “is a library that has the power to change the world.”
This has also left me wondering about the ways in which other types of information institutions are moving in this type of direction. It almost seems that this type of innovation is best suited for public libraries, but I’m very excited to do some research about how this type of forward-thinking has been applied in the context of academic and special libraries.