Disruptive Library Model

Regina recently wrote about the use of the term “community center” versus the term “library.”  Then I read a blog post entitled “Why Your Company Needs a Disruptive Business Model,” which seemed to echo the point that Regina was making.  “The reality of the economic landscape demands that a business must either figure out how to create new markets for its products and services or reshape existing ones to stay relevant.”

Of course this is going to take some work on the part of library staff.  What are the unmet needs in our communities? What is our niche? Who are we not reaching? How can we broaden our customer base? We are going to have to observe trends, especially in technology, and embrace change.

Change is scary.  It can also be risky, especially when resources are limited and we are not sure that something new is going to work. That is the reason that PLAN developed its Innovation Projects. This program allows member libraries to try new ideas and services, without investing their own limited resources. Based on the results of an Innovation Project, libraries can determined if a new program is worth continuing.

Contingent upon Library Cooperative Grant funding, PLAN is accepting applications for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Now is a great time to start planning what disruptive changes your library is going to make.

One thought on “Disruptive Library Model

  1. This is the sentence that jumped out at me right away: ” … a business must either figure out how to create new markets for its products and services or reshape existing ones to stay relevant.” At conferences we continually hear about “staying relevant” and “embracing change” but it’s so difficult to let go of what is already in place that has been working. Keeping current customers happy, the sustaining innovation phase. The danger, of course, is that by the time you realize the safe choice is no longer working as well as it did, you’ve fallen behind.

    When I read this: “startup businesses actually have the advantage because of their willingness to pursue unproven opportunities,” it mirrors my own thoughts that leadership change can be healthy for an organization. I’ve observed that new library leaders appear more willing to take risks and strike off in unproven directions. To do this, they don’t require that something be wrong and needing to be fixed; they simply see a different path to the service goal. The “start-up” director/manager/leader isn’t tied to past successes and the comfort of a proven formula. Why re-invent the wheel, we usually say. But sometimes re-inventing the wheel infuses an organization with energy and new insight.

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