April 4, 2012, 1:19 pmThis project has been in the works for a long time. I think that the initial seed was planted during my time at Georgia Tech. It simmered while I was out in California. And it crystalized as soon as I arrived in Blacksburg. I thought this document would be a one-pager that I could finish over a weekend, but it grew into something much more involved.
I’ve been fascinated with startup culture for a long time and as I considered all the changes happening in academic libraries (and higher ed) the parallels were quite stunning. No, we’re not developing new products to bring to market, and no, we’re not striving for an IPO payday, but we are being required to rethink/rebuild/repurpose what a library is and what it does. The next twenty years are going to be an interestingly chaotic time for the history of our institutions.
Here’s a snippet that frames the paper:
The media and pop culture provide us with romanticized visions of dorm room ideas becoming billion dollar IPOs. And indeed, that does happen sometimes, but startups are more than rags to riches stories. In concise terms: startups are organizations dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This sounds exactly like an academic library to me. Not only are we trying to survive, but we’re also trying to transform our organizations into a viable service for 21st century scholars and learners.
This paper is a collection of talking points intended to stir the entrepreneurial spirit in library leaders at every level. I think it is also useful for library science students as they prepare to enter and impact the profession. My intention is for this to be a conversation starter, not a step-by-step plan. The future is ours to figure out and I hope that this captures the spirit of the changes ahead.
Think Like A Startup: a white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism (3.96 Mb) PDF