Pull quote: “The thing that is most extraordinary about the internet is the way it enables permissionless innovation. This stems from two epoch-making design decisions made by its creators in the early 1970s: that there would be no central ownership or control; and that the network would not be optimised for any particular application: all it would do is take in data-packets from an application at one end, and do its best to deliver those packets to their destination. It was entirely agnostic about the contents of those packets. If you had an idea for an application that could be realised using data-packets (and were smart enough to write the necessary software) then the network would do it for you with no questions asked. This had the effect of dramatically lowering the bar for innovation, and it resulted in an explosion of creativity. What the designers of the internet created, in effect, was a global machine for springing surprises.”

Pull quote: “I called a meeting of all our full-time and part-time staff, and told them to treat the library like a laboratory. We’re going to try some things here. We will fail some of the time, but that’s life, and I’ll do my best to limit the damage.”

Pull quote: “But it’s still probably true that we can’t design our interfaces for the least technologically comfortable among our userbase — without ending up with a lowest-common-denominator product that is frustrating and unsatisfying to the greater majority of our users. We still might choose to be more conservative in our interfaces than some startup businesses; but if we go all the way to the end of the dial on conservative interfaces, we’re just going to continue our slide into irrelevance for the greater number.”

Pull quote: “When I see a shiny new thing, I ask myself, ‘How will this further the library’s goals?’ If I struggle to find an answer, I know it’s not worth pursuing.”

Pull quote from guest blogger, Andy Burkhardt: “When asking questions though, it’s important to ask them in a purposeful and helpful way. Instead of asking ‘can we get rid of this reference collection?’ it would be exceedingly more helpful to ask ‘is this reference collection getting a lot of use? Is it still serving our users?’ Instead of asking questions that tear down, ask questions that encourage and allow others to create. ‘Can you tell me about a time when you had a really amazing reference interaction? What made that successful? How can we build more of that into our reference service?’

Pull quote: “No requires just one objection, one defensible reason to avoid change. No has many allies—anyone who fears the future or stands to benefit from the status quo. And no is easy to say, because you actually don’t even need a reason.”

Pull quote: “The challenge that I see in this is that some of our stakeholder expectations are in a totally different place from others, and equally far from our shared and recognized experiences. In short: We’re busily turning into a butterfly, to the delight of our students, and our faculty think we made a damn fine caterpillar.”

Pull quote: “I like what my boss says in the American Libraries article about why we innovate: ‘The big idea isn’t innovation for its own sake, but rather, the question that we ask ourselves everyday is: What opportunities and assets do we have that can make scholarship and learning better?’ The focus on leveraging our assets is really key. When we make choices about what ideas to pursue, we look for places where we have unique talents and resources to offer. Rather than shifting away from what we have always done well, we build and expand on our traditional strengths in ways that support new research efforts.”

Pull quote: “To be a leader you have to play the part. You can’t sit silently at meetings or complain that you have too much work if you want change. Leaders don’t complain, they put forward positive visions and solutions. Leaders may plan, but not endlessly. They don’t sit around wishing or waiting for change. They take action. They also value everyone on the team and try to empower them. Leaders are dedicated and set an example for those around them. By acting like a leader people will see you as one and start looking to you for ideas and opportunities to collaborate.”

Pull quote: “I’ve been fascinated with startup culture for a long time and as I considered all the changes happening in academic libraries (and higher ed) the parallels were quite stunning. No, we’re not developing new products to bring to market, and no, we’re not striving for an IPO payday, but we are being required to rethink/rebuild/repurpose what a library is and what it does. The next twenty years are going to be an interestingly chaotic time for the history of our institutions.”