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Libraries 2015 - Background Readings

This collection of reading materials was created to prepare participants for the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Library Innovation by providing an overview of and background information on the topic. The selection of readings introduces a range of issues associated with accelerating the transformation of public libraries through innovative practices. It is not intended to be a comprehensive collection of materials on the topic, but rather an overview of subjects relevant to the Roundtable on Library Innovation.

Background Readings


John Seely Brown, “Innovating Innovation,” Foreword, Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating And Profiting from Technology by Henry Chesbrough, September 2005.  Available online:

Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, “Executive Summary,” Rising to the Challenge – Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, October 2014. Pages viii-xii. Available online:

Section I. From Edge to Core: Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Walter Isaacson, “Five Easy Theses” Vanity Fair, October 2014. Available online:

Walter Isaacson, “Myth of the Lone Genius,” The Aspen Journal of Ideas, September/October 2014. Available online:

Richard Adler, “Connecting the Edges,” A Report of the 2012 Aspen Institute Roundtable on Institutional Innovation, April 2013.  Available online:

GK VanPatter, “Accelerating Civic Innovation: Ten Key 2015 Considerations,” LinkedIn. Available online:

Carolyn Anthony, “Innovation in Public Libraries,” Public Libraries Online, February 24, 2015. Available online:

Section II. Library Innovation by Design

IDEO, “Getting Started: What is Design Thinking?” Design Thinking for Libraries: A Toolkit for Patron-Centered Design, January 2015.  Available online:

Jeff Goldenson and Nate Hill, “Making Room for Innovation,” Library Journal, May 16, 2013.  Available online:

Larry Keeley, “Beyond Design Thinking,” Deloitte University Press, April 15, 2015. Available online:

Section III. From Design to Practice

Urban Libraries Council, “2015 Top Innovators.” Available online:

Jim Euchner, “The Evolution of Innovation: An Interview with John Seely Brown,” Research-Technology Management, September – October 2012. Pages 20-23. Available online:

Loretta Waldman, “Coming Soon to the Library: Humanoid Robots,” The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2014. Available online:

Knight Foundation, “Knight News Challenge on Libraries Awards $3 million for Innovative Ideas,” Press Release, January 30, 2015.  Available online:


Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, “Call to Action and 15 Steps for Library
Leaders, Policymakers and the Community,” Rising to the Challenge – Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, October 2014. Pages 48-52. Available online:

Online Resource: American Library Association, Center for the Future of Libraries, “Trends.” Available online:

Online Resource: Will Evans, “Experimentation and Innovation in Libraries: From Design Thinking to LeanUX,” June 29, 2013. Available online: