Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Bundle It, Blend It, Innovate It"

Presenter: Tony Tallent, Boulder Public Library

Libraries are reinventing themselves in all kinds of ways and the spirit of innovation is alive and well despite difficult economic times. Tallent's discussion about innovation didn't necessarily focus on dollar signs, but rather on people and their unique contributions.

The three types of innovation Tallent described were: Efficiency Innovation (i.e. "bundling" book packages for children or young adults); Evolutionary Innovation ("self check out via ATM like stations); and Revolutionary Evolution (a library that actually did away with its fine system).

What he referred to as "small inspirations" in libraries included: Perth Australia's move to list "Recently Checked In" items on its webpage to attract users; "Civics in a Flash" - Alaska State Library's downloading of government documents to flash drives for users; and "Let 'em Play with It" -- Broomfield Colorado Public Library's downloading of playlists for users; and "The Techie is In -- Boulder Public Library's project that bring technical staff out of their back officese and into the library several hours per week to interact with patrons. The idea behind all these small inspirations was improvisation and playing with some new and out of the box ideas.

The discussion was infused with energy which Tallent has accrued from his work on extremely innovative projects.

Further sources for inspiration:

"The Seeds of Innovation" by Elaine Dundon
"Serious Play" by Michael Schrage

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