Aaron at Walking Paper recently wrote a great post entitled Letting Go. In it, he encouraged librarians to let go of rules that really serve librarians rather than patrons (and often are barriers to patrons getting what they need from the library). Other than those rules preserving basic etiquette and safety, the rules should exist to make things easier for patrons, not easier for librarians. We put up so many barriers to users, not only with our policies but with the way our OPACs and facilities (both physical and electronic) are designed. I couldn’t agree more with everything he wrote. We’re here to serve the public, and thus, we should be user-centered. It’s a no-brainer.
I would hazard a guess that most of the people in the blog world agree with these ideas. Aaron is really preaching to the choir. Unfortunately, most bloggers aren’t running libraries. So how do we get our colleagues and supervisors to listen? How do we make our ideas palatable to people who are change-averse? This is something I am asked time and time again in interviews. How can you get people excited about your ideas when they have a Michael Gorman-esque mindset? Are libraries run by people like that just doomed until the change-averse people retire? Can you sneak your ideas in through the back door? Is there hope? I’d love to hear stories about people working in change averse libraries who have been able to create change. Or how you’ve “sold” innovation at your library. Because while it’s great that we’re all starting to see the need for a user-centered orientation, I really want to know how to sell it to people who aren’t quite as open-minded.