ACRL OnPoint Chat Archive June 11, 2009: Why Didn't I Think of That? Finding Innovation in Your Library
( 10:00 a.m Pacific | 11:00 a.m. Mountain | 12:00 p.m. Central | 1:00 p.m. Eastern)
What is innovation? How does it happen? Who innovates? And, why does it happen to some more than others? This OnPoint chat will use attendees' experiences to understand how innovation does (and does not) occur in the academic library environment. Drawing on individuals' successes and failures, we will identify obstacles to innovation, discuss various models and theories of innovation, and consider how the individual fits in the innovative organization. David Dahl, Emerging Technologies Librarian at Towson University, will convene this month's chat.
10:00 cprice55 Still rainy in Fort wayne
10:01 margotconahan Hi all, it looks like it's noon Central, so I'll let David kick us off.
10:01 ckump Hi Celia, didn't know you'd be here!
10:01 guest9208028 used to work in Ft. Wayne
10:01 Shana well the headphones help me focus
10:01 linbach Hello from cloudy new jersey
10:01 David Dahl Great. Hello to everyone...
10:01 KeanLibrarian Also Hi from cloudy NJ
10:01 David Dahl I hope we can talk today about innovation both on the individual level and on the organizational level.
10:01 David Dahl But I'd like to start by getting an idea of what we mean by innovation
10:02 David Dahl so let me pose the question: What is innovation?
10:02 znewell Job security
10:02 JilltheLibrarian doing things in a new way?
10:02 David Dahl a tech librarian, znewell?
10:02 jwlayman something you've never seen before that changes the ways you do things.
10:02 sbecke taking chances
10:02 Kristin creativity....resourcefulness
10:02 candise Anticipating what we need before we even know it.
10:02 znewell Instruction
10:02 mxcclibrary Going where no library has gone before! (sorry Trekkies)
10:02 Librjan Something innovation to one place may not be in another.
10:02 AskLorasLibrary responsive to customers
10:02 raalford meeting needs
10:02 guest9208028 library 2.0
10:03 iBarnello meeting needs in new ways
10:03 libmou creative with limited budget!
10:03 saslib whatever admin says is outside the box
10:03 sbecke ha
10:03 Librjan keeps things interesting
10:03 znewell thinking of the future
10:03 sbecke taking risks, not being afraid to fail
10:03 KeanLibrarian Adaptation for survival?
10:03 louuuuuuu Simplifying, streamlining
10:04 bkelm coming up with a new idea
10:04 David Dahl I like these, and I think they get at different aspects of innovation
10:04 msanth120 is something really innovative if it isn't useful?
10:04 raalford doing all this with no funding:)
10:04 David Dahl both the process of innovating and the (hopeful) outcomes
10:04 ckump Innovation is trying new things to discover if they are useful
10:04 David Dahl that's a good question msanth120. Is innovation always useful?
10:04 ckump Then if it's not useful, you try something else.
10:05 Kristin ideally, anyway
10:05 saslib continual assessment needs to be built in
10:05 red But, only if there is funding to "try" it.
10:05 guest9208028 always keeping the customer first
10:05 znewell it is the innovating that hopefully makes something useful
10:05 sbecke you don't know if things work until trying them sometimes
10:05 David Dahl somebody earlier mentioned failure/risk-taking as a quality of innovation
10:05 David Dahl very true. so I don't think innovation itself needs to be successful...
10:06 msanth120 ok, so innovation is a process, not an end result.
10:06 sbecke i think you can throw things out and see what sticks
10:06 David Dahl in fact, accepting failure is an important part of innovation
10:06 sbecke somethings will, the rest you discard and try again
10:06 JilltheLibrarian But you need to be in an organization/environment that tolerates failure
10:06 saslib hard to take risks in a climate of cost(staff)-cutting
10:07 David Dahl innovation is usually divided into two categories product and process
10:07 raalford or encourages change
10:07 sbk18 Or shows appreciation for effort
10:07 iBarnello "gamers" really GET trial by error as acceptable practice
10:07 znewell It is important to be in an organization that allows for a degree of failure
10:07 znewell Essential to innovative principles
10:07 sbecke you can be innovative w/out a lot of money
10:08 David Dahl Ok. So it sounds like we have a lot of ideas about what constitutes innovation
10:08 David Dahl good, sbecke.
10:08 sbecke it's a mindset, a culture
10:08 David Dahl so what are some recent innovations that your libraries are doing or have done
10:08 David Dahl ?
10:08 AskLorasLibrary I agree - the culture is often as important if not more important than money
10:08 ckump We added chat reference last Spring semester but it didn't work out well. Fortunately it didn't cost anything but staff time.
10:08 Gayle we just added IM - a big deal for us
10:09 JilltheLibrarian we put puzzles out for the public. Enormously popular. Old technology but new to us
10:09 ckump we are now discussing Text messaging instead
10:09 ualbany we have a "just ask" service -- where the students can call the ref desk and we go to them where they are in the library
10:09 sbecke im, twitter, libguides
10:09 libmou jobshadowing so that foks from other dept can help out
10:09 mxcclibrary Shifted our reference collection into circulation and made many selections circulating.
10:09 DianeKH We're hoping to try text reference
10:09 ahartsell8 libguides
10:09 bkelm text message reference service
10:09 KellyatYaleLib text ref
10:09 znewell reorganizing our reference desk
10:09 Librjan combining reference and circ desks
10:09 tjaponteUCLA text reference
10:09 Kristin we just created a fan page on facebook, and that's going well so far...and not costing a lot of time or $ either
10:09 KeanLibrarian We're just starting LibGuides, they seem pretty helpful.
10:10 AskLorasLibrary rearranged furniture - trying to make more "areas" rather than rows of tables and chairs
10:10 KellyatYaleLib did away with our ref desk and moved to an iDesk model
10:10 Gayle one library is circulating REF materials - another public is the first to not use Dewey but a retail model
10:10 JilltheLibrarian What's an iDesk?
10:10 rholt53 cloudy Kansas
10:10 KellyatYaleLib information desk
10:10 KeanLibrarian I am intrigued by the concept of an "iDesk".
10:10 KellyatYaleLib triage model
10:10 jraviro iDesk?
10:10 tjaponteUCLA one library is combining the circulation and reference desk to form a single service point
10:10 KeanLibrarian Oh! We have one of those.
10:10 Kristin we have a research/information desk
10:10 mxcclibrary We have that as well.
10:10 ElisabethLeonard Elisabeth in humid North Carolina
10:11 Librjan working on LibGuides also
10:11 Shana is it still innovation if folks have been doing some of these things for awhile? ;)
10:11 David Dahl lots of different innovations. looks like most are what I would consider "service" innovations
10:11 sbk18 We're going to try using clickers in information literacy sessions
10:11 David Dahl good question, Shana
10:11 saslib Ask what we haven't done: long list
10:11 Gayle it all depends on your stage
10:11 sbecke libguides have been a hit.
10:11 lbgardinier315 using open source software to fill the gaps that our old cranky ILS leaves before making the pitch for a new one a new one
10:11 mxcclibrary It may be innovative for that library's culture.
10:11 Kristin innovation at our library's level
10:11 KeanLibrarian If it's new for YOUR library, then I'd say yes. it's innovation
10:11 DianeKH Trying to get ref librarians to think of new ways to provide service
10:11 KellyatYaleLib hwo are people measuring the "success" of libguides use?
10:11 Kristin maybe not the profession as a whole, but still
10:11 Shana How about - what drives us to innovate...
10:12 ckump Is anyone doing anything new with events or activities to bring in students?
10:12 libmou deliciou, blog, will embarl on FB soon
10:12 louuuuuuu Redundancies
10:12 David Dahl I would agree. it's innovation for that particular library. maybe not in terms of the product produced, but implementation of the product into their culture, workflows, etc.
10:12 znewell changes in technology
10:12 sbecke re: libguides = anecdote and hit counts
10:12 uleth libguides - are you talking about guides in a particular structure/format or just any library research guides?
10:12 znewell educational refocusing
10:12 Shana I can get with that David!
10:12 sbecke we are having a "Gaming" theme for orientation this fall
10:12 KellyatYaleLib thanks, sbecke. but aren't the hit counts inaccurate because they are getting the hits from the creator of the guide, too?
10:13 AskLorasLibrary We do finals week treats and have tried having Friday night events - music, games, etc.
10:13 sbecke yep, you have to account for those
10:13 bkelm combing our ILL with our Consortial Borrowing Unit at Circulation
10:13 David Dahl I think these service innovations are where libraries will have the most success
10:13 ckump How are those events working out? Do you have high attendance?
10:13 mxcclibrary Community over Coffee - used to make these events educational, now just go for the fun and networking.
10:13 jraviro No.
10:13 AskLorasLibrary For finals weeks - we sure do - Friday nights not as much
10:13 iBarnello just purchased Kindles
10:13 libmou some of our librarians did Survivor game in our basic Eng classes
10:13 FranTheLibrarian I like the notion of an triage desk (Circ/Information) ...then a Librarian or technician is called when needed?
10:14 Kristin we're looking into the possibility of assigning undergraduate honors students doing thesis research with a librarian....we're also doing this some with certain grad level classes
10:14 mxcclibrary We have high attendance because it is during a break in the day and there's food and giveaways:D
10:14 Gayle we do a week of specials and events during Nat'l Lib Week - 1/2 price fines, free drinks, etc
10:14 ahartsell8 @iBarnello: Kindles for check-out?
10:14 sbecke @ fran, yes we refer as needed
10:14 KellyatYaleLib ibarnello - how will you use the kindles? required reading or leisure?
10:14 iBarnello yes
10:14 Librjan how do you do a Survivor game in basic ENG classes? sounds great.
10:14 sbecke anyone doing anything w/ iphone apps, etc?
10:14 guest9208028 textbooks on the Kindles?
10:14 KeanLibrarian I like the idea of a regular gaming night, but then again I am a hopeless nerd. ;)
10:14 libmou Gayle, we do Food for Fines event during Natl Lib week
10:15 AskLorasLibrary We also have what we call "Thursdays at the LIbrary" and we serve free coffee, hot chocolate, etc. and muffins, cookies, etc. every Thursday from 9;30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
10:15 David Dahl How did all of these innovations happen? Where did they originate?
10:15 FranTheLibrarian I've used a "Stress Relief Table" (box of puzzles, cards, games) the last week of every semester for 4 semesters now. Our students swipe components but we don't get much written feedback.
10:15 uleth we need to re-do some of our website coding b/c the "hover" drop down menus don't work on itouch (etc) but no specific apps yet
10:15 AskLorasLibrary We have a "Free Magazine" area where we take in magazine donations and let people take them home
10:15 UMKCScienceLibrarian @KellyatYaleLib, libguide hit counts don't include creator if you are logged into your account (so most of your hits aren't counted)
10:15 iBarnello just set up an account on Amazon.com for kindles and will be trying to "see what happens" this fall!
10:16 iBarnello Have no idea what will happen once we promote it!
10:16 Kristin i get ideas from other libraries and look into how they could be modified to meet the need of our users...pretty basic concept, i know
10:16 KellyatYaleLib thanks, umkc
10:16 lorrainew i like even setting up a chat like this for topics -- student can drop in (since they love to chat)
10:16 DianeKH Innovation comes primarily from a segment of our librarians. Others just follow - or not
10:16 ckump @AskLorasLibrary We did a similar thing with popular fiction books. It's been pretty well recieved.
10:16 JilltheLibrarian i think a lot of our innovations have recently grown out of a change in leadership, more of a can-do atmosphere. it has unleashed creativity.
10:16 sbecke @dianeKH, same here
10:16 sbecke we now have some popular audio books for loan
10:17 David Dahl how is that creativity managed/utilized, jill?
10:17 ahartsell8 sometimes our innovation comes from the front-line, sometimes from the administration
10:17 David Dahl or is it?
10:17 ckump We started trying more new things when we moved into our new building a couple years ago.
10:17 KellyatYaleLib how do you get buy-in from admin for innovation if you don't have a very innovative admin?
10:17 bkelm seems like there is usually someone who wants to push a particular idea/theme, but sometimes if they leave support is gone
10:17 sbecke amen, kellyatYale, it's a process
10:17 Librjan sometimes it is just not the right time for the innovation
10:17 DianeKH Managing too many new ideas can be tricky. No one wants to let go of the old. Just keep adding on top.
10:17 sbecke they need to be educated and convinced
10:17 Shana i bet it's easy to promote a particular solution, but hard to create the atmosphere for innovation in general...
10:18 JilltheLibrarian I think the creativity is acknowledged and appreciated and encouraged publicy, even when it doesn't work. It's with a focus on service and fun
10:18 lorrainew and are we talking innovation directed at students or staff?
10:18 mxcclibrary How does innovation happen? new staff bringing new ideas, forward-thinking director, can-do attitudes, no fear in trying something and tweaking as needed, attending prof dev opportunities and seeng what others do and what might work for you.
10:18 znewell especially when speople have been doing the same thing for years
10:18 David Dahl @lorrainew i think it could be either
10:18 ckump Tie in your ideas with the mission of your institution.
10:18 Shana probably encourage small projects as well as large ones
10:19 lorrainew @david dahl because i think both are important, but the focus is different
10:19 sbecke ask for forgiveness, not permission
10:19 lorrainew amen
10:19 David Dahl a couple of people have mentioned the bringing forward of ideas
10:19 Kristin user requests and user needs can spark innovation as well
10:19 AskLorasLibrary it is difficult to get everyone to buy into creativity/innovation - people think they're not creative and so they don't want to try new things - but it shouldn't stop those who are creative
10:19 jraviro Is there a difference between innovativeness and being creative?
10:19 David Dahl Is anyone somewhere where they feel like their ideas are encouraged? If so, how?
10:20 Vanderbilt University Libraries We have a book exchange service at one of our libraries, Gnome Tome, that has been very successful!
10:20 lorrainew we have a new asst dean and she rocks - and is very supported of trying new things
10:20 sbecke @ david, sorta kinda
10:20 bkelm Monthly meetings require each staff member to bring a new idea.
10:20 David Dahl @jraviro I would say creativity is a part of innovation, but there needs to be a way to put that creativity to use
10:20 klmastel wow very cool bkelm
10:20 red The only way any innovation is ever considered is when it's tied to user satisfaction/better access.
10:20 ckump We are lucky to have a great director who often comes up with ideas herself and is supportive of our ideas. AND her boss is supportive of the library, which is very important!
10:20 AskLorasLibrary that's a great idea bkel!
10:20 Librjan I like the new ideas at monthly meetings
10:20 jraviro Thanks
10:20 Kristin iraviro...yes. innovation is purposeful, directed creativity (that's what i think, anyway)
10:20 KellyatYaleLib @bkelm - how many of these ideas are acted on?
10:20 mxcclibrary yes, my - and others' - ideas are encouraged. Top down. Working as a team. Lucky to have support of management/ admin. Makes it a fun attitude and that's infectious.
10:20 sbecke i encourage it in my staff and try to move barriers out of the way for them
10:21 lorrainew we started a 'big ideas' group = but it is hard --- still have trouble getting folks to run with an idea
10:21 JilltheLibrarian new idea every month? Is that a source of stress?
10:21 msanth120 @ david i feel like ideas are encouraged, but when it comes down to change, it's hard to convince...
10:21 bkelm Definitely not as many as I would like
10:21 sbecke generally obstacles aren't put up, it's just being patient and finding an opportune time
10:21 bkelm main goal it to get people talking
10:21 raalford I try to work with other departments for activities
10:21 bkelm and thinking
10:21 Shana jill i agree - unless the ideas are not supposed ot be earth shattering but "something i thought I would try" even if it is non-techie
10:21 mxcclibrary @Jillthelibrarian - yes, it's hard to schedule creativity and innovation - it's more organic than that.
10:22 DianeKH it's not admin support that is a problem. It's convincing the front line who will have to implement innovation
10:22 lorrainew @raalford can you say more...
10:22 sbecke re: meetings, seems to take innovation away to "Require" creativity on a schedule!
10:22 saslib we have a digital librarians group that researches and discusses new tech and possibilities for our library
10:22 David Dahl an idea a month is a lot of pressure - might result in some "bad" ideas...
10:22 lorrainew maybe that's ok.
10:22 Shana no bad ideas David...
10:22 David Dahl but I like the notion behind it
10:22 raalford I try to work with other groups to get to know their members and show how the library can be relevant to them
10:22 David Dahl my bad
10:22 mxcclibrary Brainstorming is key.
10:22 raalford for example I've wanted to work with our social work department to do a service learning fair
10:23 lorrainew @raalford got it
10:23 lorrainew we are lucky to be involved with all the learning communities
10:23 Gayle working w/other non-library groups often gives me good ideas / also have an ear to patrons is really good
10:23 David Dahl so I've heard ideas being presented at monthly meetings, is anybody else doing anything to gather/share ideas
10:23 lorrainew which is a great way to have them meet the library
10:23 David Dahl ?
10:23 mxcclibrary @raalford - love that idea. Service learning so important for our students
10:23 AskLorasLibrary The more ideas the better - you can even discuss how a "bad" idea can be made into a good one
10:23 Kristin sometimes not so great ideas can also spark great ideas in others...provide the building blocks to great ideas
10:23 Liz @raalford: We've found hosting non-library events for other departments has done an excellent job of bringing students in...and then they stay
10:23 JilltheLibrarian Cross-pollinating is important. We need to get out of libraries from time to time
10:23 DianeKH bad ideas are ok. how do you get good ideas unless you have a lot of ideas (per Linus Pauling)
10:23 diane_shepelwich i agree with DianeKH, getting the frontline to implement the innovation can be a struggle. How to deal with those attitudes?
10:24 KellyatYaleLib our biggest problem is admin
10:24 KellyatYaleLib i guess i should have used my personal screen name lol
10:24 ElisabethLeonard without implemmentation, you have an idea, not an innovation
10:24 znewell that is most people's problem--admin
10:24 AskLorasLibrary Invite the front lines to the discussions - ASK them the questions - what do YOU see that can be done differently?
10:24 raalford I have reluctant co workers who don't like change
10:24 saslib admin grants our digital lib group a few hours a week just to research, brainstorm and share ideas
10:24 sbk18 Can you elaborate about the non-library events?
10:24 znewell why are some people so hesitant to embrace ideas?
10:24 David Dahl one model suggests that most of the ideas should come from the "front line".
10:24 mxcclibrary We have a library advisory group made up of admin!
10:24 David Dahl the people dealing with the patrons/customers
10:25 Shana i think it would help to center the discussion around what folks can agree they want - then figure out what to do/change
10:25 KellyatYaleLib @znewell - ideas/innovation = change = scary
10:25 Gayle i really want to get a student focus group together here
10:25 lorrainew yes
10:25 libmou people don't like change 'cos they are scared...takes them out of comfort zone
10:25 lorrainew if more students could tell us what they want
10:25 Liz @sbk18: We do workshops for other departments where we just lend a hand...provide a place for their speakers, etc.
10:25 saslib if you can cite a user survey, you get leverage
10:25 lorrainew then more admin might listen
10:25 guest9208028 also often in a rut if they've been there for a long time
10:25 KellyatYaleLib i agree, user survey and assessment go a long way. unfortunately don't have enough time to do
10:25 sbk18 Thanks, Liz - Susan
10:26 DianeKH but the "front line" is many people - and they don't agree - some pushing forward, others pushing back
10:26 Liz How do you get students to actually respond? It's like pulling teeth around here.
10:26 ahartsell8 I think sometimes the innovation isn't properly explained to those who have to make it happen (especially if coming from admin.)
10:26 saslib fortunately for us, we have a full time assessment person and it's becoming part of our culture
10:26 sbecke the train is leaving the station w/ or w/out us
10:26 raalford I think one issue is confronting the view of students or profs who want to see the library as an unchanging monlith
10:26 areed @Liz- Great question.
10:26 Shana i know that this is an innovation-themed talk and of course people can genuinely be in a rut, etc. but i'd be careful that this doesn't come across as a value judgement during conversations...
10:27 David Dahl @dianekh right! so I suppose it's the responsibility of mgmt to set a strategic direction that makes it apparent which direction things should move
10:27 Librjan we usually cannot get many faculty members to respond either
10:27 lorrainew that is difficult
10:27 David Dahl @Shana that actually gets at another question I have. for later...
10:27 mxcclibrary Prizes work! Also, short and sweet - very directed. Small study groups - not the universe.
10:27 Shana :)
10:27 lorrainew we just did a serials cancellation project which put us all in touch with faculty again. (not that i propose you all cancel things)
10:28 paagaard How do you build innovation into a strategic plan?
10:28 AskLorasLibrary I'm looking to get the student government involved on a more regular basis - they certainly speak up when the hours aren't to their liking so I'm hoping they'll speak up about other things, to
10:28 lorrainew but it was good to reassess the acquisitions, brought us in contact with faculty
10:28 David Dahl The reason I ask about how ideas are managed is because this is the point at which innovations begin to take shape
10:28 lorrainew good idea
10:28 mxcclibrary One of the challenges is that many projects like these are done in the summer but Faculty are gone so can't provide the direction.
10:28 AskLorasLibrary We also did a serials cancellation project using surveymonkey to gather the info - it worked - about 1/2 of the faculty responded
10:28 iBarnello key to strategic planning is the WAY you do it----all constituencies present (innovation is possible when you do that) I think
10:29 sbecke i find that strategic planning saps energy from innovation here
10:29 sbecke everything becomes so bureaucratic
10:29 saslib Yes idea management is crux. Lots of ideas here but admin not responding.
10:29 sbecke and entrenched in red tape
10:30 mxcclibrary There has to be a champion for each idea - that person(s) who feels strongly about the idea and will lead others.
10:30 David Dahl so one of the keys to idea management is to have problems that relate to the idea
10:30 ahartsell8 yes strategic planning is sometimes just something that has to be written out and stored away, not really used for planning
10:30 David Dahl the idea should grow from somewhere
10:30 iBarnello huh?
10:30 paagaard So you're saying that innovation is always an answer to a specific problem?
10:30 mxcclibrary Yes, in our case, why fix something if it's not broken?
10:31 AskLorasLibrary making it clear that what you have now just isn't working any more - I really had to convince the powers that be to let me rearrange furniture - but I did research and explained why today's students are different than students of the past
10:31 sbecke i agree that finding a group of people who are passionate can make all the dfference
10:31 saslib many of our ideas grow from lack of connection to our users
10:31 tucookchat a laissez-faire admin who believes in who they hired and trust they will respond organically to probs
10:31 Gayle I save this qoute, "A project responds to conditions by gathering resources that support activities that produce results that have an impact on people and a rational says why". Just tho't it was good.
10:31 saslib I mean we want to bridge gap
10:32 sbecke see, research to reagrrange furntiture is so antithetical to trusting your staff and patrons
10:32 EmilyNEiA @mxcc, sbecke, yup--and Web 2.0 often makes "championing" possible, luckily--things can be implemented on the ground without lots of upper-admin support, and then success can speak for itself!
10:32 sbecke imo
10:32 mxcclibrary And I don't believe it has to be a specific current problem but could be a reaction to perceived threats and what you see as future opportunities.
10:32 saslib So first priority is assessment: surveys, study groups, web stats
10:32 KeanLibrarian Does there often seem to be a separation between what our patrons/students want, and what the powers that be think that they should have?
10:32 Gayle we need to respond to both student and fac and admin contituencies and they're very diff't
10:32 saslib Absolutely
10:32 David Dahl I think we all have "problems" within our organizations that we are seeking solutions to. If our ideas are centralized around problems (which probably evolve from assessment efforts) then you have evidence of their importance, need for solutions, etc.
10:33 David Dahl yes, saslib.
10:33 iBarnello innovators have input from all campus constituencies about needs (Problems)
10:33 Gayle prob-solving is a key part of this job!
10:33 saslib Admin wants stats that show "market penetration" ie user contact and customer satisfaction
10:33 ElisabethLeonard But not every innovation addresses something we may identify as a "problem" -- maybe the difference between radical innovation and incrememntal innovation?
10:33 AskLorasLibrary sbecke - sure - but once I told them it didn't work I was given carte blanche in the rearrangment - and actually it was the physical plant that had the problem - not the administration
10:34 sbecke good to know you had admin support
10:34 David Dahl true. there are some innovations that come from nowhere, but I think for innovation to be a successful practice within libraries our efforts are better focused on our problems/needs
10:34 Shana amen
10:35 sbecke we had to rearrange furntiture this a.m. b/c it has bedbugs in it! ha!
10:35 lorrainew that's a good point!
10:35 ElisabethLeonard I think our efforts must focus on our users and on our mission, which may or may not be resolving problems
10:35 aburkhardt It seems that innovation comes from failure, or not being afraid to fail
10:35 saslib we're also exploring blogs, rss, twitter, im, facebook, libguides' new libanswers product -- in order to create new channels of communication
10:35 David Dahl @sbecke that's a serious problem (lol)
10:35 znewell we too
10:35 DianeKH But often innovation is addressing a need or problem that people don't know they have
10:35 saslib Turns out no one channel works
10:35 sbk18 Sometimes it's more of coming up with an improvement than revamping everything even if it hadn't been perceived as being a problem--many of the suggestions already mentioned would fall into that category.
10:36 znewell innovation can come in small ways
10:36 ElisabethLeonard I agree @DianeKH
10:36 aburkhardt promoting a culture that encourages trial and error is important
10:36 David Dahl @dianekh so it's up to assessment initiatives to discover the problems. maybe...
10:36 lorrainew and the problems/needs to address come from....
10:36 sbecke how does one promote that culture
10:36 David Dahl or intuition
10:36 libmou not always good to be innovative just to be 'cool'...just 'cos others are going it. Innovations should be based on needs assessment
10:36 FranTheLibrarian Innovation can come because of a serious problem OR it can be in response to the community (Faculty, staff, students) lack of understanding about the library.
10:36 Cynthia You have to feel safe to be innovative.
10:36 saslib if the culture isn't there... we iconoclasts just keep throwing ideas in the ring and when the time is right...
10:37 aburkhardt well I think directors or superiors need to give employees freedom and encouragement to try things
10:37 libmou I meant 'others are doing it!';-)
10:37 Shana otoh there is nothing wrong with being coool - -all other things being equal
10:37 AskLorasLibrary what would make you feel you had that freedom to try new things?
10:37 DianeKH Who knew we needed the Internet - now how do we live without it?
10:37 David Dahl @saslib yes. so it's important to identify how those ideas are going to be implemented - people you can go to, resources to rely upon, ways to sell to admin, etc.
10:38 saslib yep, it gets very political and you have to be patient and build relationships and learn what sells
10:38 raalford Perhaps just talking to more people about more ideas would open up support and other avenues
10:38 FranTheLibrarian ...exactly, when the time is right something will catch!
10:38 iBarnello libraries can't afford to guess or use intuition on pricey innovations
10:38 David Dahl it's good to try to push things too, though
10:38 sbecke i think you can get some inresting ideas from assessment, but somtimes just shooting from the hip is good too
10:39 Gayle so nice to have many free options now!
10:39 saslib Oh yeah, push the envelope and when burned know how to tactfully retreat/redirect
10:39 aburkhardt I think I would be encouraged if I proposed something, tried it, it bombed and then was told to keep trying or was told "oh well at least we know that doesn't work now"
10:39 lorrainew what are some ways that folks are doing 'needs assessments'
10:39 David Dahl yes. I think a lot of us have good intuition when it comes to discovering problems
10:39 lorrainew we do LibQual, SAILS
10:39 AskLorasLibrary thanks aburkhardt- that helps me :-)
10:39 lorrainew we did a huge Technology Survey
10:39 saslib semi-annual campus surveys
10:40 guest233055 we do counting opinions
10:40 raalford I'll be giving an IL pretest to some incomming freshmen
10:40 iBarnello hate LibQual
10:40 Shana probably we already know what a lot of the problems are!
10:40 sbecke focus groups, Libqual
10:40 AskLorasLibrary we did a survey during National Library Week
10:40 Gayle surveys, focus group - I need cheap ways here
10:40 AskLorasLibrary and plan to follow up with focus groups
10:40 sbecke comment boxes!
10:40 Vanderbilt University Libraries @lorrainew - do you get good info and responses from the libqual participants?
10:40 David Dahl how do these results get shared with library employees?
10:40 saslib problem is that big surveys don't catch the granularity of the niche markets
10:40 lorrainew pretty good. it was helpful
10:40 David Dahl when do you see the results of libqual surveys?
10:40 raalford I wanted to post blog responses to comments
10:40 lorrainew we have a staff wiki and it gets posted there.
10:40 saslib Months later piecemeal
10:41 suzettes Does anyone belong to a joint use facility where you implemented an innovative idea? Was everyone on board or did you have resistance from the other organization?
10:41 bkelm good question - we did one a while back and now very back burner
10:41 sbecke libqual takes too long
10:41 lorrainew i know, lucky for me i wasn't in charge of it -- just using the results
10:41 Vanderbilt University Libraries @sbecke - what do you mean that it takes too long?
10:41 saslib Our assessment person throws out the raw data then bit by bit her analyses and summaries
10:41 Shana one thing about about libqual all about perceiption - not reality
10:41 sbecke once or twice we've just pulleda student in to look at and react to something
10:41 David Dahl so one important step to being more innovative is to get your assessment results and other stats out there for everyone to see (employees and patrons)
10:42 sbecke not scientfic, i realize
10:42 DianeKH LibQual is best for identifying weakness but not so much how to address them
10:42 Shana @sbecke, multiple measures are good!
10:42 guest233055 There are also so many things that people need that libqual doesn't address at all
10:42 sbecke libqual results seem to be looking backwards and not forward
10:42 saslib we focussed most on the comments responding to open ended questions
10:42 Vanderbilt University Libraries Our library had a libqual team, used innovative ways to garner participation, then team will synthesize the data.
10:42 lorrainew but remember, it's just one instrument we are trying
10:42 David Dahl if you have a focus group, etc. , the results of it need to be shared so that everyone has an opportunity to brainstorm ideas based on results
10:42 sbecke and they take a long time to process/receive
10:43 Gayle I'd never heard of a "usability" study but another librarian was talking about the results from their usuability study of their webpage. Have otherse done this?
10:43 saslib we have a usability team for our new metasearch engine
10:43 Gayle what do they do?
10:43 David Dahl @gayle yes
10:43 libmou we just did a very successful web usability studies
10:43 saslib focus groups mostly
10:43 ahartsell8 we're doing a usability study right now
10:44 sbecke we have a usability committee but i am not on it
10:44 libmou as a result the webpg had major changes
10:44 DianeKH We did usability studies before designing a new website and will now do usability on the new site
10:44 lorrainew we were lucky to have a librarian, Char Booth, who did a huge tech survey
10:44 lorrainew Informing Innovation: Tracking Student Interest in Emerging Library Technologies at Ohio University (A Research Report)
10:44 saslib anyone use google analytics?
10:44 saslib Loved Char's report
10:44 lorrainew thanks! can be found at
10:44 Vanderbilt University Libraries @ahartsell8 - is your study inclusive of all aspects of your library or just your web accessibility/usability?
10:44 saslib Now we all want to be anthropologists
10:44 libmou yes our Web lib used Google Analystics for it
10:44 lorrainew it was really helpful for seeing what students are using
10:45 ahartsell8 just the website
10:45 Vanderbilt University Libraries Our library uses google analytics as well
10:45 ahartsell8 we'll have a new website out this fall based on the feedback
10:45 ahartsell8 hopefully
10:45 Cynthia I implemented Google Analytics in our website and was told that I shouldn't have because of privacy issues.
10:45 lorrainew we also started using google quizzes in classes --- that helped a lot (free and easy to use)
10:45 David Dahl @cynthia interesting...
10:45 Cynthia My director didn't want to get into Google domain.
10:45 lorrainew (more of an instruction thing)
10:45 saslib we have it but are told it is very hard to extract hard conclusions
10:46 saslib more useful for broad trends we're told
10:46 Cynthia Does anyone have a blog on their website for student use?
10:47 lorrainew yes - well, focused on a discipline, what are you referring to
10:47 David Dahl yes. it could tell you how people are accessing your website, etc. But this is why sharing your data with everyone is good. You never know who is going to have an interesting interpretation of the data and what ideas/solutions might result
10:48 DianeKH Sometimes it's not a dearth of ideas, it's a lack of time to plan and implement them.
10:48 David Dahl let's shift gears for a minute
10:48 sjardine5 We use Google Analytics to track a few pages here and there on our website.
10:48 saslib that's refreshingly open-minded
10:48 David Dahl and focus on individuals
10:48 saslib we're told to wait on experts
10:48 cprice55 We have a blog that provides library news. Students can respond, but it's not easy to find.
10:48 sjardine5 What do you mean, David?
10:48 David Dahl What qualities do innovative people possess?
10:48 Vanderbilt University Libraries @sjardine5 that is how we use it as well
10:49 saslib curiosity, courage, patience
10:49 iBarnello someone said earlier: not afraid of failure
10:49 suzettes They're risk takers...
10:49 raalford creativity, enthusiasm
10:49 AskLorasLibrary open-minded
10:49 FranTheLibrarian qualities: passion
10:49 Librjan curiosity, persistence
10:49 KeanLibrarian Geeks!
10:49 Shana i hope they have a sense of humor~
10:49 Gayle able to see a better way to do something
10:49 Vanderbilt University Libraries @david dahl - forward thinking is number one
10:49 tjaponteUCLA confidence
10:49 ahartsell8 open-minded
10:49 tprosise confidence (or lack of fear anyway)
10:49 sbecke dpm
10:49 paagaard not afraid to dream
10:49 iBarnello evangelistic! ;-)
10:49 jwlayman Tenacious
10:49 Cynthia Do you have a information wiki on wesite that all librarians can edit?
10:49 Kristin forethought
10:49 Librjan seekers
10:49 sbecke don't take themselves to seriously
10:49 lorrainew @cynthia yes we do
10:49 Gayle persistance, perseverence
10:49 sjardine5 optimistic
10:50 Librjan desire to improve things
10:50 AskLorasLibrary not easily daunted
10:50 David Dahl @cynthia davidjondahl.com/innovation - contribute away!
10:50 Librjan optimistic
10:50 sbecke how can managers support innovation?
10:50 FranTheLibrarian support: get out of the way!
10:50 David Dahl @cynthia sorry misread your question
10:50 Gayle have a "thinktank and innovation" committee!
10:50 Cynthia Sorry I broke that descriptive stream!
10:50 iBarnello yes! get out of the way and surrender authority!
10:50 raalford give workers enough confidence to try...
10:50 Vanderbilt University Libraries @sbecke - this is an old term, but I think it is application to innovation of any kind...empowerment is key
10:50 libmou @Cynthia, we have one for Ref, one for Access Services
10:50 ualbany support: remove barriers
10:50 FranTheLibrarian Thanks, Inga!
10:51 saslib acknowledge, appreciate
10:51 Shana have open ended conversations amongst staff!
10:51 sbecke don't critcize
10:51 AskLorasLibrary encourage
10:51 sjardine5 managers can encourage and accept ideas
10:51 David Dahl I think innovators have an interesting balance between pressure and freedom
10:51 Librjan thick skins
10:51 raalford make room for mistakes
10:51 iBarnello I got told no to something by director last year and now i'm doing it without him knowing! (shhhh)
10:51 sbecke @ david, explain
10:51 Gayle also accountability (the manager keeps staff accountable to follow through)
10:51 David Dahl they feel an intrinsic motivation to innovate
10:52 Vanderbilt University Libraries We have Creativity and Innovation Awards nominations to recognize staff; there is a process...it builds morale
10:52 David Dahl and are given the room to fail, etc.
10:52 David Dahl too much room and they won't feel the pressure to innovate
10:52 iBarnello pressure and freedom---interesting
10:52 UMKCScienceLibrarian works well with others/politically gifted - you can't innovate if you aren't able to get buy in from your colleagues/admin
10:52 guest9208028 need the permission to fail.
10:52 sjardine5 managers ought to offer feedback and let people think of implications
10:52 David Dahl too much pressure and they won't feel free to innovate
10:52 David Dahl a paradox...
10:52 Cynthia iBarnello: slap yuor wrist!
10:52 saslib what is admin non-response -- pressure or freedom
10:53 iBarnello @cynthia: clamp on the cuffs and carry me away!
10:53 ckump @lorrainew You mentioned Google quizzes earlier, but I'm having trouble finding it on Google. Can you help?
10:53 iBarnello hee hee
10:53 Cynthia Good question!
10:53 sjardine5 cooperation seems key
10:53 David Dahl I'd say that's freedom until the respond :)
10:53 David Dahl they...
10:53 saslib ok I'll david dahl told me
10:54 Cynthia saslib: what is admin non-response -- pressure or freedom. This is a problem with my situation.
10:54 David Dahl works for me
10:54 David Dahl how are they non-responsive?
10:54 sbecke des anyone have issues w/ new vs. old ( i don't mean age) staff and buy in
10:54 lorrainew @ckump sure, give me a minute
10:54 saslib I send out the ideas at meetings and on email but get no response either way from the admin.
10:54 JilltheLibrarian sbecke: yes
10:54 guest9208028 yes, some been here 35 years
10:54 Gayle maybe push a bit harder?
10:55 Shana @ saslib, how about from your colleagues?
10:55 AskLorasLibrary sometimes it's just the terminology - I don't use the words team management, but that's how I work - some people are so afraid of the "words" creative or innovative - make the words less threatening or less filled with pressure
10:55 David Dahl @saslib that may be one of those "it takes two" cases
10:55 Vanderbilt University Libraries @sbecke - it is always the case that change is difficult
10:55 Cynthia If you push too hard, it backfires
10:55 David Dahl I'd try to get someone else to partner with you
10:55 saslib Surreptitious support from colleagues
10:55 lorrainew @ckump go to google docs, then do a new FORM
10:55 raalford Yes, I have reluctant co--workers and it gets discouraging to suggest new ideas
10:55 Shana The I word could be intimidating...
10:55 saslib Yep, that's my strategy now.
10:55 Shana surreptitious - i like it
10:56 sbecke yeah, how to encourage the ones who are doin new things, and still validate the others?
10:56 saslib Try to form partnerships -- even if on condition of deniability
10:56 sbecke and try to get them on board
10:56 Shana @sbecke - recognize individual strengths - even if "old-school"
10:56 DianeKH So management can support innovation by helping innovators get buy-in from colleagues?
10:56 libmou @Shana...that's why we tried teambuilding workshops emphasizing there is no I in TEAM!
10:56 Cynthia My director and one librarian seem to make all the decision. If they disagree, it is opened up to opinion of others. Can be frustrating.
10:56 ckump @ lorrainew OK, thanks! I think I can figure it from here! :)
10:56 David Dahl although, trying to gain complete consensus/buy-in is an innovation killer
10:56 lorrainew that's how we do our big ideas group - someone has an idea, but doesn't feel confident and we team them up with more confident person
10:57 Gayle somehow pull in the experience that long termers have - make them feel good about that, and then add to it
10:57 JilltheLibrarian "old school" may feel threatened, that they can't be the creative ones. how do we dispell that myth?
10:57 saslib Sometimes I give cover to others by putting myself out there
10:57 David Dahl show that innovation does not equal technology, maybe...
10:57 Gayle get examples of old timers doing neat things (in any realm)
10:57 aburkhardt This post was about balancing that fine line of innovation and backlash: http://tech-ink.net/2009/06/09/innovation-and-technolust/
10:57 sbecke @gayle - what about the
"we already tried that and it didn't work"
10:58 Cynthia saslib: You must have job security
10:58 raalford I hear that
10:58 saslib I'm the only one here who can read sanskrit, hindi and tibetan
10:58 DianeKH But innovations often involve everyone in a dept. So don't you have to have some buy-in? Or do you just say do it anyway?
10:58 sbk18 David, I like what you said about "innovation does not equal technology". Sometimes it seems that only innovations in the tech area are appreciated...
10:58 lorrainew thanks everyone, i'm off to a meeting about restructuring my department!
10:58 David Dahl @lorrainew nice!
10:59 Gayle @sbecke - I don't know! that's the *******e!
10:59 ahartsell8 thanks for the chat
10:59 ahartsell8 gotta go to a meeting
10:59 David Dahl @dianekh it's a tough call. obviously you don't want to make too many enemies
10:59 lorrainew remind me how to get these chat transcripts
10:59 David Dahl for those who have a minute before leaving...
10:59 David Dahl chat transcripts are posted at
11:00 David Dahl ...
11:00 Cynthia Those that use Google Analytics, if you are higher ed, would you name you institutions so I can use the information to convince my director?
11:00 sjardine5 sometimes the "old school" just wants the "new school" to do the innovating
11:00 David Dahl I'll also post them and a summary, etc. at
11:00 rholt53 Google Analytics, Butler Community College
11:00 David Dahl and here are a few parting tips to consider...
11:00 sjardine5 it's nice when the "old school" will give some history of what has been tried previously
11:00 David Dahl Think of small innovations
Trust your intuition
Start from problems
-start with problems whose solutions can yield value to users
-focus on problems rather than other's solutions
Share innovative ideas
View obstacles as opportunities
11:01 sjardine5 AND also say that trying it again might work, because things of changed
11:01 Shana thx david
11:01 sjardine5 It leaves the door open
11:01 Gayle thank you!
11:01 Vanderbilt University Libraries Thanks! Bye Bye from rainy Nashville, TN
11:01 raalford thanks for the tips
11:01 saslib Thanks!
11:01 David Dahl @sjardine5 indeed
11:01 JMa Thanks David
11:01 David Dahl Thanks to all of you!
11:01 sbecke thanks everyone, good chat
11:01 guest9208028 thanks everyone!
11:02 JMa :)
11:02 Kristin thank u...i enjoyed it
11:02 sbk18 Thank you!
11:02 KeanLibrarian Thank you all! :)
11:02 David Dahl and thanks to Margot, especially for organizing
11:02 PJFlinton My first time - interesting
11:02 EmilyNEiA Thanks, all!
11:03 sjardine5 I wish I had logged in earlier, I was behind and trying to catch up the whole time.
11:03 sjardine5 next time I will try to remember to log in 10 or 15 mins earlier.
11:03 sjardine5 Adios!
11:04 David Dahl @sjardine5 transcript will be available here:
11:04 libmou my first time too...didn't know what to expect...turned out to be interesting:)