“The library in 2020 will offer a culture of generosity supported by fiscal oversight that reflects rigorous controls and realistic projections,” writes Josie Barnes Parker, director of the Ann Arbor District Library, in Library 2020: Today’s Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow’s Library (Scarecrow). In comparison to many of the predictions in the book of essays, this statement seems very conservative in its pragmatic approach. Nonetheless, it has resonated with me as I think about what drives effective decision making in a time of change.
Parker’s focus on how generosity is linked to responsibility points to a fundamental goal of librarianship—delivering the best service for the public dollar. It also provides a path forward, by articulating how generosity connects to responsive services. Even with a strapped budget, a truly generous approach enables a crystal clear view of real needs, and the community will respond with support. This outlook is actually powerful fuel for innovation that matters.