Transform and Thrive: Ideas to Invigorate Your Library and Your Community

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with Gail Griffith, James Kelly, Muffie Smith, & Lynn Wheeler

Successful libraries are those that continuously learn to listen and respond, prioritizing an organizational approach that encourages library staff to work with each other as well as the community to create opportunities to thrive. That may sound airy and abstract, but in this book the authors demonstrate how it boils down to applying a handful of straightforward principles, which include

  • intelligent risk-taking;
  • learning the right things;
  • respect and goodwill;
  • fulfilling the vision of library director; and
  • activating creative thinking.

With practical applications for hiring staff, coordinating an author event, creating a community partnership, and designing a building, this book walks readers through how to

  • identify the community’s motivating factors and use them to guide priorities;
  • create a culture of learning at the library;
  • apply courage, curiosity, and creativity to cope with challenges;
  • ask the right questions in order to get the right answers;
  • draw out creative ideas from both staff and the community; and
  • implement creativity exercises for problem solving that can be used by individuals and groups

Illustrated with stories from across the country, this book provides a complete strategy that will help libraries of any size or funding level amplify the skills and enthusiasm of library staff, getting everyone on the right page and thus leading to better service for their communities.




Part I    Risk-Taking

Chapter One    Startle Yourself
Chapter Two    Learning the Right Things
Chapter Three    Taking Intelligent Risks




Part II    Treasure Those You Serve . . . So They Will Serve You

Chapter Four    The Golden Rule
Chapter Five    Respect and Goodwill
Chapter Six    Think Things Through





Part III    Become an Outstanding Library Leader

Chapter Seven    Carnegie’s Light
Chapter Eight    Getting Everyone on the Right Page
Chapter Nine    Finding Treasures in Your Stacks





Part IV    Activate Creativity!

Chapter Ten    The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Chapter Eleven    Tap into Creative Potential





Appendix A    Thinking Things Through
Appendix B    De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats Exercise Adapted for Libraries
Appendix C    Sample Issues for de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats Exercise
Appendix D    Sample Programming Statement
Appendix E    Sample Program Planning and Evaluation Guidelines
Appendix F    Sample Event Planning and Special Programs Checklist
Appendix G    SHAKESPEARE Interrogating the Text
Appendix H    Suggested Resources
Appendix I    Suggested Reading


Dorothy Stoltz

Dorothy Stoltz is director for community engagement at the Carroll County (MD) Public Library. She is the coauthor of several books and articles for the American Library Association, including Inspired Collaboration: Ideas for Discovering and Applying Your Potential (2016). With more than thirty-five years of experience in public libraries, she is active in the Library Leadership & Management Association, the Public Library Association, and the Association for Library Service to Children.

"Now that people have abundant information at their fingertips, what are libraries doing to survive? Not a handbook or a planning guide, this volume instead sows the seeds for discussions about the role of the library in the community, not only as an information provider but also as a portal for cultivating beauty, honesty, and the stimulation and enlightenment of society ... Librarians, board members, and community members with an interest in seeing libraries flourish will find many thought-provoking possibilities here and an optimistic vision of the future of libraries.”
— Library Journal

"Engaging ... Those who have an interest in seeing libraries evolve and flourish will find much to consider and reflect upon as they read the eleven chapters of this book.”
— Public Library Quarterly