Trailblazing library revolution: Global thought leaders propel positive reforms

Civica’s Iain Finlayson is often asked: ‘What’s the most important thing for libraries at the moment?’ This was the impetus for ‘The One Thing’, a series of articles by leaders in the library sector in which they share what they believe is the single most impactful positive change maker for any library.

At Civica, I’m fortunate to work with an incredibly diverse community of libraries across the globe who use our Spydus solution, and who frequently involve us in their latest projects. These projects can range from patron engagement, digital transformation or data curation to discovery, community services or even community building. However, before we commence any project, we must take the time to ask: ‘What’s the most important thing for your library community?’ Once we understand this, we can work together to drive change for a better library service.

Asking this question led us to start working with highly experienced library consultant Brendan Fitzgerald (founder of consultancy 641DI). Brendan is reaching out to his global network, on Civica’s behalf, to find out what leaders within the library ecosystem believe to be the single most impactful positive change maker for any library. To keep things simple, and on topic, we have called our series of articles ‘The One Thing’, and the only brief we give contributors to the project is a single question: What is the one thing your library could implement to make the most significant difference to your community?

Brendan has used his expertise to curate an amazing group of library knowledge champions, including locals such as Jane Cowell, CEO of Yarra Plenty Regional Library and Trish Hepworth from ALIA, who plans to discuss educating librarians beyond the pandemic. Articles from the New Zealand library sector are also in the pipeline for the series. Dr Sadie-Jane Nunis, President of the Library Association of Singapore, who will provide her insights into how libraries can contribute to improving mental health for their community.

Further afield, Stephanie Chase, Executive Director of the Libraries of Eastern Oregon, has already sent us her thoroughly researched article about how libraries need to move away from bureaucracy towards a more flexible library structure that’s ready for anything. Dr Matt Finch, based in the UK at the Said Oxford Business School and founder of Mechanical Dolphin, has also contributed with a submission on scenario planning. Matt’s work encompasses an extensive list of projects with GLAM organisations globally as well as planning insights from other sectors.

We’ll be continuing to work with more, great library thought leaders who are seeking the one thing that will change libraries for the better. We’ll share their thoughts and experiences and add them to our growing repository of articles – now completely at home on the Civica website and ready to be used by all who wish to be inspired by these innovators.

Iain Finlayson MD, Library and Education Civica


1. Originally published in INCITE Magazine – November/December issue 2021 

Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.