Embedding Your Library in the Community: How to Overcome Obstacles and Lead Transformational Change

By Steven V. Potter, Director and CEO at Mid-Continent Public Library

What happens when your strategic plan blocks attempts at innovative programs?
One of the most innovative and community-changing programs I have seen in several years is Career Online High School. The immediate impact of this program at the early-adopting libraries was stunning to me. Clearly, a program like Career Online High School provides a very meaningful answer to that tired old question, “Since everyone has a Kindle, do we still need libraries?”

When I saw Career Online High School, I was amazed but unhappy.I know our strategic plan. I know our key performance indicators. I know our demographics and needs. I know Career Online High School does not easily align into our strategic direction, but I also know we have a diverse population and there are people in our community who could use this program. So that’s the end of the story, right? Not so fast! A program like Career Online High School can be a great opportunity to create a partnership with another organization.

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