Cleveland Public Library
Key Elements of Innovation
To initiate a new strategy and direction for CPL, Director Thomas created five Innovation Teams staffed by employees who were known as ‘out of the box’ thinkers, who had reputations for having a positive attitude about the library and a capacity to initiate and accept change, and/or who shared his core values of sacrifice, integrity, and respect. The five teams—Adult Services, Efficiencies, Main Library, Security, and Youth Services—were charged with the following:
- To gather service innovation recommendations relative to library services
- To explore and develop these recommendations and to prioritize them in terms of cost, impact, and immediacy
- To present recommendations, justifications, and implementation plans to Administration on May 12, 2009
- To implement the approved initiatives in three phases.
The recommendations were compiled into a Strategic Iniatives Draft available to all staff for review, comment, and further adjustment. By entrusting these teams to craft their recommendations from A to Z, Director Thomas recognized the value of CPL employees and their sincere desire for their library’s continued success. By allowing all staff input on the recommendations on a specifically designated employee blog, Director Thomas succeeded in generating a broader interested and vested coalition who looked at CPL with fresher eyes: Yes, we were good, even pretty good, but we could be great. Because of the creation of the teams, staff point of view taken into great consideration, administrators evaluation of and voting for desired outcomes, and the inclusion of many of the recommendations into the final working document, Director Thomas was able to get most of his employees ‘on the bus’ and driving towards elevated relevancy, responsibility, and respect within the city of Cleveland and its surrounding communities.