New Routes to Library Success: 100+ Ideas from Outside the Stacks

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Today's library leaders face a world in which the only constant is change.  Seeking out innovative ways to meet the evolving needs of their communities has become a critical part of their responsibilities.

In this book, Doucett mines new territory in this ongoing effort by exploring how successful organizations "outside the stacks" conduct their business. She interviews leaders of advertising, online commerce, fundraising, retailing, crowdsourcing and other organizations (including Kickstarter, L.L. Bean, Down East Magazine and Tom's of Maine, among others), learning what they do exceptionally well.  From this research she presents more than 100 examples of game-changing ideas ready for application in libraries. And most importantly, she articulates a simple process that readers can use to pursue the same path of exploration at their own institutions, including the actual questions used during her interviews.

An exciting survey of creativity in action, Doucett's book will encourage public library directors, managers, trustees, and staff to cross-pollinate their own expertise with innovative ideas from outside the stacks.


Chapter 1: The Process

Chapter 2: Entrepreneurship

Josh Davis, Gelato Fiasco

Chapter 3: Creativity

Walter Briggs, Briggs Advertising

Chapter 4: The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Fritz Grobe, EepyBird

Chapter 5: Advocates for the Creators

Margot Atwell, Kickstarter

Chapter 6: Customer Service

Chris Wilson, L.L.Bean

Chapter 7: Trend Tracking

Vicki Loomis,

Chapter 8: Learning Your Community

Brian Kevin and Ginny Wright, Down East Magazine

Chapter 9: Creating a Great Workplace

Meredith Jones, Maine Community Foundation

Chapter 10: Content Curation

Liz Doucett, Curtis Memorial Library

Chapter 11: Unconventional Thinking

Kate Cheney Chappell, Tom's of Maine


Elisabeth Doucett

Elisabeth Doucett is director of the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine. She holds an MLS from Simmons College, where she was elected to the Beta Phi Mu Honor Society, and an MBA in marketing from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is the author of Creating Your Library Brand. Her strategy and marketing proficiencies were developed over more than a decade spent in the consumer packaged goods industry as a marketing director at Quaker Oats and Dunkin' Donuts and as a brand manager at Kraft Foods in the Maxwell House Coffee Division.

"A handy, largely intuitive reference that, in focusing in on patrons as consumers, serves as both a stimulus for new paths and a methodology for canvassing one's own local community and patrons."
— Booklist

"A great read to help spur discussion and bring excitement to developing a different mindset about libraries. There are some great ideas that can be replicated for those willing to take a new approach to library thinking."

"The eleven chapters do more than just interview the people involved with their companies; the chapter headings invite us to explore what it actually means to delve into organizational thinking … This book is so easy and so simple only because it takes a complicated topic—how do I make my library better—and breaks the topic into easy-to-follow directions. The best part of the book is that the reader can refer to any chapter at any time and get some time-tested solutions to put into practice immediately."
— Catholic Library World