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Anticipate Change and Make it Work for Your Library

Posted by Larry Cooperman on 3/30/2016
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Having read Lucidea’s white paper (“Building the Resilient Library”) based on the panel discussion they sponsored at a recent Special Libraries Association conference, I noticed the emphasis on proactivity as a key characteristic of successful librarians, especially when change occurs in their organizations.

Managing change means being proactive

Why is proactivity a crucial element of change management for librarians?

Proactive strategies show that librarians listen to their users and their patrons to determine what needs they have and how to fulfill them. Proactivity also allows librarians to become an integral part of their organizations, by showing management that they embrace organizational change - with their own suggestions on how to manage this change. This could be called “the Woody Allen 80% of life is showing up strategy!” Proactivity, and the resulting enhanced visibility, can ensure that librarians sit at any management table and demonstrate leadership.

Learning new skills removes obstacles

What else can proactivity do for librarians? Proactivity allows them to learn new skill sets that can ease change management obstacles and anxieties in the future—no one likes change in any organization, but if librarians learn new skills, they can adapt to change more readily and more easily, leading to enhanced visibility and participation in their organizations.

Empowering yourself reduces stress

Finally, proactivity has a mental component—activity can (ideally) make any person less anxious about what change will occur in an organization. Assisting in change management, networking with leadership, providing assistance with change management, and following up with change initiatives are a lot more effective than standing by and watching it happen. Consider participating in change as library empowerment.

The path to the leadership table

There is no guarantee that proactive strategies will ensure success when implementing change management in an organization. However, what proactivity can do is earn librarians a place at the leadership table, ensure that their voices are heard, and clarify that they are valued partners helping run the organization efficiently and effectively.

This post was written by guest blogger Larry Cooperman. He has worked as a solo and small library manager and director for the past ten years, primarily in academic libraries, public libraries, and school libraries, and among his many achievements, is the author of Managing the One-Person Library.

Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management