Organizational Characteristics (Summary from Retreat)

At the Library Retreat, participants were seated in 24 small groups. The first activity was an exploration of the organizational characteristics of the Library. Each group had a set of 20150109_08572872 cards with descriptive words, which they sorted into three piles – The Library Is, The Library Should Be, and The Library Should Not Be. Each group also had 8 blank cards so they could add words to any of the piles if they desired to do so. The tables were abuzz with chatter and debate as the groups had to quickly come to consensus as they did the sorting.


An analysis of all of the input from the groups resulting in these terms emerging as the most desired organizational characteristics for the future: actionable, consistent, cutting edge, diverse, efficient, empowering, flexible, fun, modern, proactive, simple, strategic, tactical, and visionary. As we continue our discussions in the spring and summer to identify specific strategies and actions for the University Library, these are a set of terms that will inspire and to which we can all aspire.

Analysis and Details:

The provided terms were: accessible, actionable, aggressive, approachable, authentic, bleeding-edge, casual, communal, conservative, consistent, cool, current, custom, customer focused, cutting edge, detail oriented, diverse, down-to-earth, driven, eclectic, efficient, elegant, elite, empowering, experienced, fair, flexible, focused, formal, friendly, fun, global, high-quality, hip, historic, in touch, informal, innovative, leading edge, market-driven, modern, narrow, pioneering, practical, premium, proactive, professional, progressive, reactive, relational, reliable, responsible, responsive, savvy, serious, simple, slick, smart, strategic, structured, tactical, technological, thought leader, timeless, timely, traditional, trendy, tried-and-true, trusted, visionary, welcoming, and wise. This chart shows the summary of how the groups sorted the provided terms: summary chart of characteristics [Word Document].

Groups were also able to offer additional terms. Groups added that The Library Is: bureaucratic, collaborative, devoted, dynamic, heart, relevant, respectful, user-driven, and valuable – with collaborative being added by two tables. Groups added that The Library Should Be: accountable, assertive, attractive and functional facility, branded, caring, central to educational mission, clear communication, collegial, democratic, discoverable, educational, equitable, inclusive, integrated with campus, mentoring, mission-driven, open minded, passionate, and well-financed – with inclusive being added by two tables as well. Groups added that The Library Should Not be: anachronism, compartmentalized, exclusive, hierarchical, stagnant, stuffy, supercilious, and vacuum/isolated.