Loudoun County Public Library, Virginia
In 2016, the Loudoun County Public Library explored ways to empower staff through increased collaboration and leadership opportunities. The result is a task force structure that is expanding idea sharing across the LCPL system while allowing non-supervisory staff members to develop their leadership skills.
In many organizations, the decision making process excludes employees that are not a part of the management structure. LCPL recognizes that its frontline staff are highly knowledgeable of the community’s needs and can provide valuable input on the effectiveness of procedures and policies. The task force structure facilitates the development of grassroots ideas and increases open dialogue and collaboration between all employees.
The task force structure provides a formal channel for LCPL staff to share innovations directly with the library director and senior leadership team. Not only has this structure strengthened working relationships and employee buy-in, it also created a tremendous amount of growth and improvement in a very short period of time. The structure also affords non-supervisory staff the opportunity to take leadership roles on major initiatives, reducing a reliance on positional leadership.
In the first year of implementation, 26 task force charters were approved with over 60 percent of staff participating. These task forces address a number of different topics. Some highlights include a rewrite of our library policies, a group that designed and will teach a yearlong Spanish for Librarians course specific to LCPL, and a Food for Fines program that resulted in over 5,000 pounds non-perishable food items being donated to a local food pantry.