So often I’ll hear my colleagues say something to the effect that YALSA put out information such as programming ideas for Teen Read Week or Teen Tech Week that we should consult to see how it might work at our own library. They’re absolutely right, and that’s the point of YALSA putting out information (so that it’ll be used by other libraries) in the first place. But sometimes I think they forget that they’re YALSA too (as members) and can share their own ideas and thoughts with each other as well.

I’m using YALSA as one example of an organization that is innovative. It could be your own library that maybe you feel you need to have a title other than what you do to be able to have an idea recognized as innovative.

Chances are most people work their way through several positions whether it’s through the library or YALSA, getting to know people and sharing ideas along the way. You don’t need the title of Librarian or Manager or whatever it might be to be heard.

Maybe you’re not invited to all the meetings where it could move your idea faster, but there’s usually more than one way to share information or contribute to an organization. Like YALSA, everything from posting on this blog to writing an article for YALS, being a committee member or chair, posting programming ideas on the wiki are just some of the ways to contribute. At my library, one of the ways tasks are organized for Teen Services across the system is through various people taking leadership roles to help organize and run the event. This structure can help put innovation to use through rotating responsibilities and giving everyone a chance at seeing something grow and make an impact.

While being a leader isn’t the same as being innovative, there are some books on the topic of how anyone can make a positive difference: You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere, Can Make a Positive Difference by Sanborn (2006) or The Titleless Leader: How to Get Things Done When You’re Not in Charge by Russell (2012).

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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