When considering integrating Community Led activities into a library system, there are a few fundamental questions which you should ask yourself – and which need to be clearly communicated with staff at various levels of the organization. Peter De Jager from the University of Toronto School of Information Management has a webinar online (see Webinar – will open in windows media player) which provides a number of items to think about addressing with staff when introducing change within an organization. Although the talk is not specifically targeted at the Community Led approach, I believe that the points he raises about clearly communicating change should be taken into account when introducing this new service model within library systems. Some of the key issues Peter talks of when addressing change with staff include:
- Why is the change necessary? (Staff may feel any change is unwarranted if this is not answered.)
- What is in it for me? (What is the benefit to the employee?)
- What do we do differently on Monday (actually not just Monday – but in the future. This is about involving staff in the process – viewing staff as an internal community much like we approach external communities. Staff may not know what you mean by the changes you are proposing if you do not talk about this. Also, if they feel they are excluded from the process they are less likely to have ownership and want to see and be involved in change. At a minimum – they may not know their role in the change process. Staff also want to know about the risk of implementing change – admit it is a process where new things will be learned and how risks will be mitigated. This will help to build trust and make the implementation of the community led approach more likely to succeed.)
- What will remain the same? (It is easy to react to change and believe, especially when talking about community led work, that we are advocating throwing (excuse the pun) the baby out with the bath water. Instead, as I talked about in the previous blog posting, we are talking about different skills. The approach to working with community could and should be viewed as developing and building upon our current skills – and should not be viewed as ‘threatening’ our professional librarian identities.)
Please view Peter’s webinar. This webinar can be applied to a wide range of change management processes!