On a + note

“It is not the questions that change; it is the answers.” #41: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on November 28, 2011

Over the weekend, while clearing out my bookshelves in preparation for some Christmas decorations, I stumbled upon a well worn book by possibly the most famous management theorist of our generation, Austrian Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005). He pioneered the concept of management by objectives in his 1954 classic The Practice of Management.


The quote that really got me thinking (and not cleaning) was, “It is not the questions that change; it’s the answers…” I had to stop and think about it. The same old questions, but over time, the solutions are different. How intriguing!


In library land, our age old questions are:

► How can we better serve the customer?

► What experience are we providing?

► How do we stay relevant?


We asked these very questions twenty years ago as we naively plopped an OPAC on a reference room table, believing the answer to better library service was access to the Internet and digital resources. (Side note: we also believed those computers would be no extra work. You know how wrong that was!)

We asked the same questions last month at GPL as we started lending eReaders. The same question, different answers. The key lies in that we must keep asking the question and not remain satisfied that how we answered it 20 years ago is still relevant today.

As I finished cleaning the shelves and started unpacking the Christmas stuff, I was thinking about how  libraries need to constantly be thinking about what we really provide our customers. The answer is all about not becoming complacent with success. It’s about always looking for innovation and staying relevant.

“It is not the questions that change; it’s the answers …”


Kitty Pope                                                                                           #42 November 2011


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