School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

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Journal of Librarianship and Information Science

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Public libraries serve as anchors for thousands of communities across the country. Innovations are critical for the survival and relevance of public libraries in the country. Few studies, if any, identify the best practices for managing innovations in public libraries based on the experiential guidance shared by administrators of public libraries recognized for their innovations. This empirical study fills in the gap by identifying the challenges and solutions for managing innovations in public libraries in the United States. A thematic content analysis of qualitative responses collected through an online, anonymous survey of 219 administrators of 211 innovations in 106 urban public libraries awarded for their innovations reveals 30 unique challenges to planning and implementing innovations and an equal number of solutions, which were then organized into (a) strategy, (b) finance, (c) organizational behavior, (d) human resource management, and (e) communication clusters. Administrators and staff in public libraries need to develop competencies in these five areas to better manage innovations in the future. Other public libraries can learn, apply, and benefit from these best practices. Best practices for managing innovations, if applied, can enhance the perceived and real value of public libraries to their local communities.

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