Getting all hands on deck

By Theresa Hurley of  QuaranTEEN @ Lynn Public Library

Creating our new QuaranTEEN space at the Lynn Public Library was an exciting journey. However, getting everyone in our institution on board could be a daunting task. How can we encourage veteran staff to move beyond the “that’s the way it has always been done” way of thinking?


Making strides in changing old perceptions of what a library’s role is, what services it offers and what populations it serves is a challenge. Libraries need to evolve to remain relevant within their communities, but some staff will view changes in library services and spaces as fads that will eventually phase out. Actively engaging staff from all departments is essential in overcoming this way of thinking and building wide support for new projects.

When Lynn was awarded a grant to make a new teen tech space, our Young Adult Services department received significant attention from the library administration, leaving other departments feeling left out and somewhat resentful. To gain support from these other departments we worked on promoting a clear and concise mission statement and opening a line of communication and involvement. We stressed the idea that the teen tech space services and resources were not exclusive to one population serviced by a single department, but instead could be utilized as assets by other departments as well.


  • Create a clear mission statement that is in line with the overall mission and vision statement of your institution.
  • Create open lines of communications through staff meetings.
  • Engage a wide range of staff from various departments in your space and the use of your equipment through workshops and “play time” sessions.
  • Incorporate library staff’s existing skill sets and interests into your space and programming.
  • Create a channel for feedback and constructive criticism.