Barriers to new ideas

Posted on August 18, 2007. Filed under: administration, barriers, ideas, library |

September 18th, Gina Millsap, Executive Director of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and I will be presenting a SirsiDynix Webinar titled, “Dump the Org Chart – Get ‘er Done!”  My part of this presentation is to look at barriers to implementing new ideas and to offer some suggestions about how to work around those barriers.  I would really like to hear from others about their experiences in this area.  What barriers have you faced as you put forth new ideas, or what problems do you face when new ideas are presented to you?  Your personal stories will help make this a realistic presentation.  I will not share names or institutions, but may use some of the problems as I prepare my presentation.  If you don’t want to blog them, please send them to me at  Thank you for your help.


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3 Responses to “Barriers to new ideas”

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Right now, Lester Public Library is going for the gold, a new mission statement. I asked staff to bring it down to three words, we have it at four.

Meetings with Board members and City Council members one-on-one have added valuable information to the process. But we will rely on the management team to define the final mission – and as Gina says, “walk the walk.”

Now it is all about what will the order of the four be?

Moving towards a mission that will act as springboard for our “Vision” or slogan… this will blow the lid off the joint and the really cool stuff can happen (it already is, involving staff, library patrons, library board, City Manager, City Council – this is a municipal library. – has seen results..)!

Then we move towards shining the Library light on the entire community we serve, yikes!

Is this realistic Rob? Why not, it might work in a small community like Two Rivers, or I might be run out of town on a rail.

We shall soon see, my 6 month evaluation is coming up!

The biggest barrier to new ideas in the past here at LPL has been apathetic leadership and a culture of ‘no’ with managerial control issues tossed in for good measure. Get rid of that and you are on the way to 21st Century Librarianship (ha!)…

Great Blog Rob – I hope it takes off!!!

Jeff Dawson
Lester Public Library
Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Hi Rob,
I think one barrier to new ideas can be a personnel or human issue. Some staff may not be open to trying out new technology or implementing software for fear of “one more thing I have to do” or even a fear of learning the technology. I am experiencing some of this as we try out new technologies in my library. How do we get past this hump? I like what the Public Library of Mecklenberg and Charlotte County is doing with their Learning 2.0 program. Letting staff have “playtime” if you will, to get over these types of barriers.

Kate, I agree that fear of the unknown is a big problem. We try to make sure everyone knows they have “permission” to play with new technologies. Sometimes, that doesn’t even help them feel better. We’ve done a lot with learning styles and I think that some people are just not comfortable making that leap without some sort of saftey net. Sometimes that is sitting next to someone else doing it the first time or getting help from a trusted source. Each person needs different things and as administrators/managers/trainers we have to realize that and do our best to provide a variety of alternative learning methods and options. I’ll always remember a meeting we had where we were talking about a change. Several people in the room kept looking puzzled. One person finally starting drawing some pictures on the board and the puzzled looks went away and they said, “Oh, that’s what you mean!” It just took the picture to help them make sense of the change. For someone who really likes trying new stuff and just jumping ahead, this can be very frustrating, but if we work with each person where they are, we can often make good long-term strides. A lot of the 2.0 mentality is based on meeting customers where they are. We sometimes tend to forget that staff are customers too.

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