Living the Future 3

Thank you to our sponsors

We'd like to say "THANK YOU" to our conference sponsors: Ebsco, and Elsevier. Contributions from Ebsco and Elsevier were instrumental in helping the conference bring in our keynote speaker, Jim Gresham, and in providing multiple opportunities for conference participants to network and reflect on what they heard, over lunches, dinners and other conference breaks.

We are also indebted for the conference donations received from Blackwell, Innovative Interfaces, Kluwer, ProQuest, Ovid/Silverplatter, and 3M. Their generosity has enriched the conference offerings. Thank you!

Net proceeds benefit the staff development endowment fund for the University of Arizona Library.

About the Conference

Purpose & Format  | Themes, Programs & Pre-conferences  |   History

Purpose & Format

Living the Future 4: Collaboratively Speaking, A Library Conference on Organizational Renewal

The fourth Living the Future conference is devoted to discovery and dialogue on 21st century initiatives in library organizational renewal. Conference co-sponsors are The University of Arizona Library and the Association of Research Libraries Office of Leadership and Management Services. Participants from all library types are welcome. Academic libraries of all sizes are generally very well represented at the conference, with some respresentation from larger public libraries and systems, state library systems, and multi-types libraries.

The Living the Future 4 format is, like the format of LTF 3, purposefully designed to encourage meaningful dialogue and collaborative learning. This format recognizes that all participants can contribute to the learning of the community. Breaks provide participants with ample time for conversation with colleagues, or simply to reflect.


Themes, Programs and Pre-conferences

Themes: Organizational Renewal, Collaboration, and Assessment

Wednesday, April 24: Pre-Conferences and Workshops

Each pre-conference workshop is a full-day:

(1) Advanced Facilitation: Many libraries are already using basic facilitation tools and processes to enhance the effectiveness of groups. This "beyond the basics" workshop will assist facilitators who want to serve as resources within the library for long-term organizational development and change. Participants will learn a facilitative approach to developing groups who can continually refine and improve their processes. Specific areas of focus include:
  • Understanding and addressing group/organizational dysfunctions
  • Surfacing and testing assumptions
  • Building shared meaning
This workshop will be most helpful for people with prior experience facilitating who would like to develop more expertise in organizational and group process dynamics.
Workshop facilitator:
Melanie Hawks, ARL/OLMS Program Officer for Training and Leadership Development.

(2) Conducting User Surveys in Academic Libraries: Stay in touch with your users. This introductory, one-day workshop will present the basic concepts and steps in conducting a user survey: defining objectives, sampling, measurement scales, logistics, data analysis, and report writing. The goals for the workshop are to:

  • Provide an overview of the different steps in survey research
  • Equip participants with knowledge that will help them interact effectively with consultants, researchers, and survey experts; and
  • Encourage libraries to explore new evaluation and assessment techniques for decision making in the management process
The workshop is designed for library staff interested in acquiring a well-rounded knowledge of the survey research process.
Workshop facilitator: Jim Self, University of Virginia; Dan Lee, University of Arizona Library; and
Julia Blixrud, Association of Research Libraries

(3) Constructive Dialogue: Participants will practice using a six-step approach to developing a constructive dialogue. We will work in small groups with challenging conversations brought by participants. The workshop will introduce you to a process based on a commitment to a collaborative intent as the first resort, while also providing, rather than avoiding feedback and impact information, so that you can quickly begin to listen in ways that inspire planning and accountability in the relationship.

The steps learned in this workshop can be applied to all difficult conversations, in or outside the workplace.
Workshop facilitator: Michael Ray, University of Arizona Library

(4) Library Project Planning: Participants use an integrated problem-solving model to cover all the steps of managing a project successfully. Specific learning activities include:

  • Learning and using standard project management tools such as Gantt Charts,
  • Forming project teams
  • Consulting with others to create team-based project analyses and recommendations
  • Applying new skills and concepts to a real and specific project through a series of individual planning exercises
Anyone responsible for leading or working on a project in the library can benefit from this Institute.
Workshop facilitator:
DeEtta Jones, Association of Research Libraries


Thursday, April 25: The University of Arizona Library

Sessions on the University of Arizona Library's initiatives will be devoted to the team-based structure, the learning organization, assessment, performance and planning for change. Reports from UA Library Teams will be followed by opportunities for dialogue and follow-up.

Teams will address their efforts to cope with technology change and renewal; reorganize in response to environmental changes; collaborate across team, local and regional boundaries; and anticipate and meet the increasingly higher expectations of users.

Progress in designing and implementing performance measurement and reward systems to support the team approach will also be presented.


Friday, April 26: Organizational Renewal Efforts at Peer Institutions

Organizational initiatives at peer institutions will be addressed by invitees from a wide range of libraries. Presenters will focus on renewal in their organizations, the challenges inherent in enlivening reorganization efforts in order to better meet users' needs, and assessment. Presentations will be followed by opportunities for dialogue.

Libraries that have undertaken significant organizational renewal and redesign programs will share stories, insights, and learnings about their organizational development program and activities.

Rather than an overview of the entire organizational renewal effort, each library presenter(s) will explore a single selected aspect in some depth so that conference participants will walk away with specific, concrete and proven ideas.

The agenda for the day will be designed to include a variety of formats and will include time for participant questions and interaction through dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

The day will conclude with "application roundtables". This will be an opportunity for all Conference participants to discuss ideas that can be applied in their own libraries.

The organizations that have agreed to participate in this program to date include: University of Connecticut, University of Maryland, George Washington University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, North Suburban Library System, Emory University, University of Virginia and Brown University.

Presentations will focus on one of the following questions:

  • In your organizational change efforts, what was the key breakthrough step that led to significant, sustainable change in your organization?
  • How did you prepare staff for organizational change? What did you do to gain their commitment? What evidence do you have that staff members are working differently?
  • How do you continuously and flexibly redeploy staff to new/different work?
  • How do you utilize cross-functional teams and what are the secrets to their success?
  • What does it mean to be a "team leader" in your organization? What are the expectations of the role and the behaviors of individuals? How do you coach and sustain these?

Raynna Bowlby (Brown University) and Maureen Sullivan (Maureen Sullivan Associates) are co-chairs of the program for this day. If you would like additional information, Raynna can be emailed at:, and Maureen can be emailed at:


Saturday, April 27: Facility Renewal and Renovation

Tours of the new Integrated Learning Center, the Information Commons, Special Collections, Consolidated Access Service Site, Interlibrary Loan and the newly added fifth floor staff area will provide a focal point for dialogue with planners.

The Integrated Learning Center and Information Commons provide an expansive space for information access and experimentation with new learning methods and technologies. Presentations and dialogue will address collaboratively staffing and managing a new facility, training for new service models, and assessment of success.

Special Collections themes include remodeling for the digital age, creating educational space, planning for a Fine Arts Libratory, fundraising and more.



In 1996, the University of Arizona Library held a conference entitled Living the Future: Process Improvement and Organizational Change at The University of Arizona Library. The conference was an attempt to accommodate the many inquiries the Library received after its initial reorganization in 1992. We wanted to share with colleagues our own successes and challenges as we transformed from an academic library of the 20th century into one that is preparing for the next millennium.

After the first conference, The University of Arizona Library was asked by colleagues around the country to sponsor a continuation of Living the Future. Living the Future 2: Organizational Changes for Success was held in April 1998. One of the significant changes between the Library's first and second conference was the inclusion of speakers outside our institution. The third conference took place in April 2000. With an emphasis on dialogue and community learning, the conference once again was a place where people working toward organizational change in libraries could come together and openly share their successes and challenges.

A highlight of the 2nd and 3rd conference was the number of institutions that sent groups of 3 or more to enhance the opportunity for learning. With Living the Future 4, we hope to continue the now-established conference traditions of dialogue, community-learning, and collaboration. We welcome groups from the same institution and are providing a discount to those that send three or more: see the Registration page for more information.


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The University of Arizona Library

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