Posts tagged under: Leadership

Four ways to avoid the “transition trap” in your strategic planning

Even well-developed, regularly updated strategic plans are subject to short-term crises and changes in the environment. For the last 18 months, we’ve seen that take place as the world and libraries reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. But beyond keeping day-to-day activities going, library leaders have also been considering how to manage the pandemic’s effects on strategic, long-range issues. Recent tactical decisions need to be balanced against longer-term strategic aims.

It’s important, as we move further into a post-pandemic planning mode, not to confuse tactical, transitional plans with long-term, transformational strategy.

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We persevere through challenges when we rely on each other

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a year since the pandemic turned our lives upside down. And despite shutdowns and closures, libraries still found incredible ways to serve their communities. You adjusted to conditions and responded to critical information needs. You pivoted to deliver content and programs digitally and to support online learning.

My colleagues and I at OCLC have been proud to support you. We prioritized product investments, research, and development opportunities that helped respond to new challenges. As a member-driven organization, that’s what we do—empower libraries to meet changing needs.

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Think like a “game changer”

Hubert Krekels

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I often remember Skip Prichard quoting Jack Welch at our Edinburgh, Scotland, EMEA Regional Council meeting: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” As a true librarian and forward thinker, I fully recognize we are in the middle of this, but I prefer to complete the quote this way: “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change in your library … change the game!”

In the late 1940s, The Lego Group began producing the building bricks, which we all know so well. For decades, they made popular kits that were described by many, all around the world, as one of the best toys in history. However, as children’s play preferences changed, Lego’s economic fortunes declined.

How do you improve a product that has been a global icon for generations? Many small, incremental improvements may help. But at some point, you may need to make a major adjustment and start thinking like a game changer.

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Getting smarter, together

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It was great to see everyone in Baltimore at the inaugural meeting of the Americas Regional Council. It was a phenomenal experience—from the inspiring keynote speakers to many in-depth, informative breakout sessions.

Nearly 200 attendees from 120 institutions, 36 US states, and four countries joined this membership meeting where the theme was, “The Smarter Library.” We shared ideas, questions, and insights about what it takes to become smarter and innovate continuously around the needs of the communities we serve.

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The “audacity and humility” of getting smarter

Ginny Steel

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Can things really be smart?

Is a thermostat programmed to change based on time of day and weather conditions “smarter”? How about a chat-bot that answers your customer service questions? What about an email feature that automatically sorts messages based on your past activities?

In many cases when we hear “smart [thing],” it’s a synonym for some kind of software automation based on sensors, data collection, or connected devices. Nearly half of Forbes17 Top Enterprise Tech Trends for 2017” relate to ideas of “smarter” services, apps, products, infrastructure, and lifestyles. The assumption is that by automating as many aspects of a process as possible, we’ll get better results.

I’m not convinced that’s the case.

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OCLC at 50 years: a “moonshot” for the world’s libraries

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As we’ve prepared for our 50th anniversary celebrations, I’ve been thinking about the time of our founding in the late 1960s and what it meant for our cultural ideals of technology and progress. OCLC was born in 1967, between the time of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 speech in which he set the goal of landing a man on the moon, and the fulfillment of that dream in 1969.

I think there are exciting parallels between that dream, its completion and the incredible journey that OCLC libraries have undertaken together over the past five decades.

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To be a better librarian, break into museums and archives

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An archivist, librarian and museum professional walk into a conference …

In 2016, 18 librarians, archivists and museum professionals came together as “field anthropologists” for the “Collective Wisdom: Libraries, Archives and Museums (LAM) Conference Exchange” to find out more about each other’s practices and cultures. They attended three major LAM sector conferences, working together to look for new opportunities for collaboration.

As an administrator to the Collective Wisdom cohort, I saw firsthand the group’s deep insights and renewed resolve to connect across all kinds of boundaries. They had never crossed paths before embarking on this experience—but by the end, they had cultivated “professional relationships and friendships that will endure well beyond this project.”

And their readiness to find intersections between each sector’s silos is testimony to a wider desire for collaboration among knowledge professionals. Reflections and recommendations for strengthening cross-sector community and collaboration are captured in their newly published white paper, “Collective Wisdom: An Exploration of Libraries, Archives and Museum Cultures.”

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The power of breakthrough storytelling

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I was honored to have been asked to be on the program committee for March’s OCLC Resource Sharing Conference. Meeting with and learning from my US colleagues is always exciting, and I was so pleased to see several other Canadian librarians in attendance at the conference. The acquisition of Relais International by OCLC made this conference highly relevant to the Canadian ILL community, as we really need to be a part of the future direction of our ILL systems; we need to be part of the story. I was excited to bring forward Todd Babiak, Canadian author and entrepreneur in the storytelling business. His keynote presentation, “Breakthrough Storytelling—What a powerful narrative can do for your library,” really helped anchor the entire conference for me.

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Inspiring breakthroughs in librarianship worldwide

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Managing the IFLA/OCLC Fellowship program, which began in 2001, is one of the most professionally rewarding experiences of my career. The Program provides advanced continuing education and exposure to a broad range of issues in information technologies, library operations and global cooperative librarianship. With the five Fellows from the 2017 class, the Program has welcomed 85 librarians and information science professionals from 38 countries.

Each year a new class of Fellows brings a new wave of enthusiasm and energy to the program, which we sponsor with IFLA. This class was no exception.

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Together, we move forward

EMEA Regional Council Meeting

It was great to see everyone in Berlin last month at the EMEA Regional Council meeting. More than 250 guests from 28 countries attended this eighth annual membership meeting, which was held at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin). The theme was Libraries at the Crossroads: Resolving Identities, and we explored the trends that are shaping the future of libraries through a rich program of 65 presentations led by 67 thought leaders.

Thank you to all who planned and attended this powerful event. It was a great chance to share knowledge around this important theme while getting to know each other better. A special congratulations goes to the Lightning Talk winner Katrin Kropf from the Public Library of Chemnitz, Germany.

We look forward to seeing you next year on 20–21 February in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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