Library Planning Research

Future Planning and the Psychology of Change

The psychology of change is an important aspect of library planning.  Dr. Lawrence L. Lippitt notes that  Preferred Futuring  has “the power to change whole systems; envision the future you want and unleash the energy to get there.” This can be useful for teams, organizations and communities within a library project.

Preferred Futuring helps teams, organiziations, or communities construct a future they want and mobilize the energy to reach it. Anyone who is facing change of any kind should be aware of, and be prepared to deal with, the following effects:

Change is not always the group consensus. Some changes are beneficial; other are not. Change is especially difficult when you don’t have a future vision. In preferred futuring, groups establish a common understanding of who they are and what success looks like. Our library planning methodology establishes the goals and vision for the project, based on stakeholder input and the strengths of the institution.

Change may bring uncertainty. As we gather data, we combine the future needs and the existing conditions. Stakeholders are solicited to participate and provide feedback. We never know the outcome of a plan until the data gathering is complete.

Change causes stimulation. The construction of a new library service or space can bring turmoil; and if the process is not handled well, it can often stall. We harness knowledge and resources directed toward results. Typical outcomes include increased utilization of the library, sustainable future/staff service models, and improve library space and services.

Change may increase staff work. If not done carefully, it can bring about some unintended results. For example, a library director may envision greater productivity from the staff, but they end up dealing with the unintended consequences of an ineffective library program/service plan. Change Can also increase morale and cooperation! Not all change means there is something to worry about. We have had many successful projects by supporting strong leadership who understood the power of planning.

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