With so many things in life, we have to choose between small or large, fancy or plain, sprinkles or no sprinkles. Roy Tennant’s latest post talks about the innovation of people not institutions. He also makes the argument that even though large institutions have more resources for innovation, those resources often come with more levels of decision making.
I agree with Roy. In my experience, bureaucracy often comes with less innovation because that is simply the nature of having multiple levels. In a large organization, you can not help but have many levels and many people who believe they should (and often do) have a say in the operations of the whole. This results in innovation moving at the speed of a sloth even if you are trying to be a turtle (at the very least).
In smaller places, there are less levels, but also less staff and resources. In a small institution you have to be more careful about how you allocate time and money because taking from one thing impacts other services with greater depth then in a larger library. I have heard from librarians in small places that they like the environment where they can play, come up with ideas, and only get one person’s permission before they implement something.
For those of you still in school or contemplating a move elsewhere, be sure that you take into consideration size when choosing your next job. Do you want the extra calories that a super sized meal will bring or would you rather go lean and mean?
–Jane, still deciding where she fits