It takes a team
Back in March 2022 we were delighted to win a Bett Award for Higher Education – Digital Learning Product for Lean Library Futures, our latest offering for librarians and which was launched back in September 2021 at the Charleston Conference.
“The judges applauded the clear proposition that added real value for students and lecturers, bringing libraries into the 3rd millennium, starting with looking at how students work and replacing traditional approaches. Judges were particularly impressed by ease of use, and a recognition of the social nature of learning in higher education!” – The Bett Award judges
We thought we’d reflect on what the Bett Award win means for us, not just as a relatively young company, but as a team, and what we can learn from this win and take forward to further serve our community of librarians.
Lean Library began back in late 2016, founded by Johan Tilstra, who was a librarian with a mission to help students and researchers get to the resources they need in the quickest and easiest way possible. We’ve come a long way since then – not only were we acquired by SAGE Publishing in 2018 and are now under the Technology for SAGE umbrella, but our direct team has grown to over twenty individuals.
The question is: how do you maintain a team culture when that team lives globally and remotely?
First off, back in March 2021 we revaluated our mission statement and launched a new set of team values to abide by. These values are to help us establish best practices in organisation and professionalism and guide us to better serve our librarian community.
They are: Collaborative, Organised, Pioneering and Persevering. We think that every single one of these values has been vital in us maintaining our positive team culture and developing and launching Lean Library Futures. In particular, collaboration sits at the centre of it all, especially as Lean Library Futures was seeded from pilot partnerships with libraries.
From team getaways and monthly gatherings in the London office, to regular meetings internally and with librarians, and partner organisations and publishers, we’ve incorporated as many ideas and as much input as possible to create Lean Library Futures, which is why the Bett Award win has meant so much to us and what we do!
Moving forwards, we believe we can only continue to succeed if we remain true to our team values, making sure every team member’s voice is heard and we facilitate open, two-way conversations with our librarian community whom we strive to support as best as we can.
As our Managing Director Matthew Hayes said about the win:
“Thank you to all those libraries and service providers that took a chance on us early on, that shared our vision for bringing the library into patron workflows, and that trusted in our commitment to convert big ideas into a tangible product. That product would not exist without the feedback of the many librarians we consulted, and the integrations with service providers we achieved. There are too many to name, but special thanks to Springshare, EBSCO Information Services, scite, the ExLibris team at ProQuest, our colleagues in SAGE Publishing, and OCLC. Last but very much not least…
‘Ideas are easy. Execution is everything. It takes a team to win.’
Here is that team. And what a team!”