It seems that almost every library-related news article I read talks about the de-funding of libraries or how amazing it is the Library X is doing so much with so little.  The 2011 State of America’s Libraries report from ALA and Library Journal’s 2012 Library Budget Survey confirm that budgets are still trending down. It can feel impossible to be innovative when you are barely able to cover costs for summer reading programs.

I don’t know about you, but occasionally I must force myself out of a pity party that generally starts with the thought, “If I had more money/time/help, I could do so much for my patrons.” In order to combat this leeching, downward spiral, here are some ideas to beat the blues and come up with your next innovative idea.


Seek Inspiration 

Take a walk, look at an art book, visit a library branch other than your own, connect with an old friend from library school, do anything that makes you feel reenergized about your work.

Write it Down
Make a list of all the things you would do if you had money/time/help, then decide what is really relevant for your community. This often helps me put things I want into perspective. Sure, I would love to have a huge Hunger Games program resulting in a canned food drive for food shelters in the area, but that really wouldn’t work at all for my transient, military-dependent teens. However, sometime writing it down helps me transform my too-big idea into one that is just right.

Change your View
Take stock of your teen space and see if it is still working for the people you serve. Are the stacks crowded? Is the art stale? Do you ever see an actual teen lounge on that beanbag chair? A little rearranging might be all that is needed to jumpstart your creativity.

Keep Trying
As we learned in 30 Days of Innovation #7, true innovation often happens after a failure. Perhaps a little tweaking is all that is in order to make that past failure into a raging success.

Though it can be overwhelming to feel like you must constantly be innovative, I encourage you to find a balance that works for you and your patrons. I challenge you to shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you can create with what you do have.

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