Cultivate Conversations on
October 30, 2015
Who Are We?
Tony Hahn, Reference Librarian, Des Plaines Public
Anne Belden, Head of Adult Reference, Ela Area Public
What is culture?
Exploring culture statements
Group exercise: Defining our ideal library
Group Exercise: Culture across libraries
Culture consists of group norms of behavior and the
underlying shared values that help keep those norms in
place. – Forbes
What does that mean?? It means that Culture is:
The way we act within an organization, and
The beliefs and values that drive us to act that way.
A culture statement is a document, usually internal, that
expresses your organization’s way of life
For example: Are the people collaborative or territorial?
Is breaking the rules encouraged or frowned upon? Is it
OK to be a little weird?
In many cases culture is unwritten,
but no less real
Mission vs Culture
A mission statement: what we want to do for the outside
A culture statement: what we want to do to and for one
another as staff members
Some organizations have a vision or values statement,
which tends to straddle the external and internal
Culture, Values, and Mission
Why is Culture Important?
It impacts happiness and satisfaction
It affects performance
It attracts talent and drives retention
A healthy workplace culture draws
people together on a common
platform and motivates them to
deliver their level best.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum
up the men to gather wood, divide the
work, and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the
vast and endless sea.
Attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Sample Culture Statements
Culture statements are used by both for-profit
businesses and nonprofit organizations
They can vary by length and by structure
We have selected four examples
With integrity and humility, we strive to live
the Organization values, holding each
other accountable for implementing the
Organization mission. We practice shared
leadership, recognizing, celebrating, and
taking collective ownership of Organization’
success. Because a strong work ethic and
responsible decision-making should exist
at all levels of leadership, we apply fact-
based decision-making and encourage all
staff to proactively ‘course-correct,’ to
efficiently manage resources so that those
Organization serves will benefit.
We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving
Ladies and Gentlemen.
At The Hotel, our Ladies and Gentlemen
are the most important resource in our
service commitment to our guests.
By applying the principles of trust, honesty,
respect, integrity and commitment, we
nurture and maximize talent to the benefit
of each individual and the company.
The Hotel fosters a work environment
where diversity is valued, quality of life is
enhanced, individual aspirations are
fulfilled, and The Hotel Mystique is
We serve the community, and we are a
Each of us is a whole person with individual
experiences and a unique perspective. Our
diversity is our strength, and we treat one another
the same way we treat our patrons, starting with a
belief that others’ intentions are good. As
colleagues, we respect, value, support, and
encourage one another. We recognize that we are
better together, and we are committed to direct,
open-minded communication and courageous
We share a passion for learning, and partnering
with others to build a better community. All of us
are generous with our time, talent, and resources.
None of us are satisfied with “good enough,”
because we know we can be “great.” Whether
contributing to new innovations, or continuing
established practices, we stay flexible, mindful,
and dedicated. And we leave room to experience
joy in our work and our colleagues, because
together we form a vibrant whole organization.
The Library aspires to live by these guiding
Diversity and Inclusion
We value and appreciate differences: of opinion,
perspective, culture, race, socioeconomic status,
color, sex, national origin, religion, age, sexual
orientation, gender expression, and physical
Innovation and Creativity
We value a culture of innovation and pledge to
build a creative environment that allows us to
explore new ideas, learn from failure, and
continually re-envision what libraries can be.
Love of Learning
We are intellectually curious and expect to
continue to learn, grow, and develop throughout
our lives. We do this by reading, through
engagement in professional development, by
learning from each other, and through access to
Our Core Values Across Libraries
What values does the ideal library workplace culture
Core values are essentially a formalized definition of a
The Culture Engine – S. Chris Edmonds
Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
Joy, Inc. – Richard Sheridan
Primed to Perform by Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor
Articles and Websites
Creating a Culture of Usability –
Creating a Culture Statement that Captures Your Brand –
The Key to Changing Organizational Culture –
Workplace Culture: What it Is, Why it Matters, & How to Define It –
Zappos blog: Your Culture is Your Brand – blogs.zappos.com/blogs/ceo-and-coo-
Sample Culture Statements
Arcus Foundation – www.arcusfoundation.org/who-we-are/
The Ritz-Carlton –
Skokie Public Library – skokielibrary.info/about/staff/culture/
Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University –