Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Permission and innovation

Thad Seymour came to the library a couple of days ago to invite me to lunch with Jack Rogers whose father was the architect of the Olin Library. As is his way, Thad never comes empty handed, he gave me a copy of this entry from his daughter's blog.

I don't tend to read too much about public libraries. I have enough trouble keeping up with College ones. I do know that the way in which public libraries serve or do not serve the homeless has been a significant issue for many public librarians so I was really struck by this librarian's innovative solution to this problem.

It is so easy when we are so busy to simply enforce the rules, to protect the status quo. Sandy Neerman didn't do that. Instead she used the problem to reorient the whole issue. It was no longer about whether or not a group could serve food at a particular location outside the library. Instead it became a way to serve an underserved group. This is the kind of thing that wins you the Charlie Robinson Award.

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