Your library’s workplace culture does not have to be an accident. A thousand details shape how your stakeholders–personnel, library users, volunteers, members of your community and institutions, and financial and political decision-makers–feel about your library, which in turn impacts how people are treated and how they treat others every day.


Conscious culture starts with making decisions and taking concrete action. What is the physical evidence as demonstrated in people’s behavior? What would a “successful” library culture look and sound like?


Is your library’s style formal or informal and what does this mean when strategic choices are made regarding priorities, principles, and policies? How does the environment demonstrate that it welcomes teenagers, seniors, working poor, veterans, homeless, immigrants, people with physical and cognitive challenges, and people who are not part of the mainstream? Is the library child- and family-friendly? Supportive of lifelong learning? How would a stranger know? Are employee empowerment, creativity, and innovation valued? Are equity, inclusion, and diversity important? How would a visitor know?


Based on a series of case studies, we will explore what are the physical and behavioral details that make up a library workplace’s culture, and specific steps you can take to make your ideal a reality.



  • Design goals and strategies for a new workplace culture.
  • Change physical details to move the workplace closer to the new ideal.
  • Formalize the new culture in new policies and procedures.

Conscious Culture: Concrete Choices That Can Change Your Library Workplace