Becoming Future Ready, transforming spaces, adding makerspaces and production studios, genrefying collections and more! There are amazing things happening in libraries across the country! It’s a great time to be a librarian!
Sounds great, doesn’t it. Now, let’s get real for a minute. How many of you out there are seeing and hearing about amazing things happening in other libraries and you’re just feeling frustrated or stuck? Can you relate to any of these statements?
- I don’t have the budget.
- I don’t have room to make any studios.
- We don’t have the technology.
- I don’t have another librarian/para working with me.
- I’ve tried adding a makerspace and it failed!
- I’ve tried moving things around in my library and it had no impact.
I hear you, my friend. I’ve been in that place and my visit was way too long! I didn’t make those statements up. Those were all my thoughts and words. (And the list could go on!! ) It wasn’t until last year that we discovered what was missing. No, it wasn’t space, money, creativity or staffing. (Those are some pretty great assets, but those alone won’t cut it!) It was a plan, a roadmap, a why. We needed a clear VISION!
Once we had defined our vision, all of the pieces started falling into place. Seriously! We went from feeling frustrated to being driven! Here’s what worked for us.
- Observe and Take Notes - Who is using the space? Who is not? How are they using the library?
- Dream Big - What do YOU want? What changes do YOU want to make? Take some time to think about and jot down your wishes and dreams.
- Reflect and Evaluate - What are the strengths and weaknesses? There are lots of tools you can use to do this. We used the Future Ready Libraries framework, our annual library student survey data and our observations.
- Take Time to Process - Gather all of your observations, notes and ideas. Look for big ideas or themes. These big ideas and themes are your VISION!
- Get Help From the Outside - Find someone that you work well with to help you. They don’t have to be another librarian. We enlisted the help of our Instructional Innovation coach. Read your notes to them. Tell them your vision. They will pick it apart and ask questions to help you clarify.
- Spread the News! - Once you have crafted a vision that you feel represents your goals, share it! Share your vision verbally to others every opportunity you get! The more times you share, the clearer your vision will become. Eventually it will just be who you are!
There’s nothing magical about our mission. It’s pretty simple actually. It took us several months to go through the process, but it was totally worth it! Our vision drives every decision we make. It’s our secret sauce to success!!