Should your library have an innovation strategy?

Jennifer Rowley (Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Publication date: 17 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to argue the case for libraries to develop a more holistic and strategic approach to their innovation activities, with a view to enhancing their innovation performance, and innovation capabilities.


Whilst libraries need to and do innovate, there is little evidence of discussion of innovation and its processes in the library and information management literature. This paper commences with a review of the nature of innovation, and then proceeds to briefly discuss seven aspects of innovation that could usefully be facets of an innovation strategy. These include: innovation capabilities and culture; the innovation portfolio; innovation processes; innovation leadership; innovative and creative teams; open innovation and collaboration; and, user engagement in innovation.


A model showing the seven facets of an innovation strategy is proposed. Planning and ongoing reflection on all of these would be a sound basis for a more holistic, and dynamic approach to innovation activities within libraries.


The paper is one of very few to mention innovation processes and management (as opposed to specific innovations) in the library and information management field, and the first to propose the facets of an holistic and strategic approach.



Rowley, J. (2011), "Should your library have an innovation strategy?", Library Management, Vol. 32 No. 4/5, pp. 251-265.

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