Getting Staff on Board

I am often asked, “How do you get people on board with changing the routine?” My answer is simple: “Have the change make sense.”

We all have preferences, and I feel it is valid for experienced staff to question changing a storytime routine that they have been doing quite well for numerous years. If change is approached without validation the change will often be resisted or led to frustration in the staff. It is important that whether or not management incorporates the storytime staff into the change process, they need to be able to articulate the framework of the why the change is be made.


  • Use the phrase “The “insert library’s name” storytime program”
    1. make ownership of the storytime the library’s and not the story leader’s
    2. takes the focus of an individual storytime and into all age ranges/sessions
  • Use the phrase “Shifting priorities”
    1. Make it clear this is not because of an story leader’s poor behavior or out-dated fashion
    2. Implies what worked before was valid but the whole program is heading in a new direction
  • Use the phrase “Reassess”
    • This implies the change can be altered later if something is not working
    • Implies an openness to communication from story leaders
    • Set a particular deadline
      • After a session closes
      • If there is not much time between sessions, perhaps a month before a new session starts to allow for changes to be refined/alter
  • Refine /refining
    • This implies that if something is not working, there is an openness to adapt or alter slightly later
  • Show your work
    • explain each priority
    • show each element and how it relates to the priorities


  • The phrase “Your storytime”
    • This implies the story leader has a lot of power that you are usurping with the change
  • The phrase “Freshening up / Fresh face”
    • This implies the story leader is outdated and, in my experience, can lead to resentment
  • Using “I / my / mine”
    • Even if you are the manager you do not want the focus of the change to be on you and your desires
    • Try to use the library or the department’s name instead
  • The phrase “Trial period”
    • Seems strange, but I have found that “trial period” makes staff feel like they do not have to embrace the changes, as it is only temporary.
    • Favor the “reassess”  or “refine”