Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 — 2017
For early-career librarians, this is an opportunity to connect with
new teams, departments, and administration. Contributing to an
intrapreneurial project within the library can provide a sense of
ownership often lacking in entry-level positions and a platform to
demonstrate their value to the organization. Intrapreneurial work
also helps early-career librarians develop new skills outside formal
professional development opportunities and practice leadership and
project management skills that will be useful as their careers progress.
Early-career librarians bring fresh eyes to an organization and its
opportunities; intrapreneurship offers an outlet for their perspective.
For mid- or late-career librarians, intrapreneurship offers an
opportunity to build capacity in new areas of the field, and emerging
or previously unfamiliar areas of the profession. Embarking
on an intrapreneurial project outside of their department can
be an opportunity to reignite a passion for their work, avoid
stagnation, and provide a change of pace. Working with new
team members allows experienced librarians an opportunity to
mentor and share the knowledge and skills they have developed
over many years at their organization. Flat hierarchies may also
limit opportunities for established librarians to advance their
responsibility level; this is a means to address that gap.
To the End User
Libraries exist to serve communities. Our users trust that we
have their best interests and needs in mind. We therefore have
a responsibility to ensure we are using our resources—both
financial and human—in the most efficient and practical manner
possible. This requires us to experiment and assess continually.
When new user needs emerge, a culture of intrapreneurship
encourages teams to assemble to develop new products or services,
or add features to existing products to address the needs.
Intrapreneurship’s lightweight nature means that new products or