Curiosity as an Organizational Development Tool

People come to libraries with a desire to learn or know something — to satisfy their curiosity.  Library staff facilitate this process by offering information, resources, and personal assistance.  Indeed, libraries value and cultivate a spirit of inquisitiveness in their communities and strive to meet these needs in the best way possible.

But how can library staff focus curiosity inward for the purpose of organizational development?  How can libraries translate the natural curiosity of their staff into increased community impact?

I found some inspiration in a recent Super Soul Conversation podcast.  I’m a bit of a late podcast adopter and have never had much time for Oprah’s Sunday show (too busy making pancakes and catching up on household chores), but I’m thrilled that these conversations are now accessible during my daily commute.

Oprah is a naturally curious person (imagine a reference interview with her!) and her conversations hold juicy bits of information that apply to libraries, especially her conversation with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer.  (Clips from the original Super Soul Sunday episode here.  Podcast on iTune here.  Or find on your favorite podcast app.)  

Centered on his 2015 book “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life,” Granzer describes how he uses curiosity for connection. This is what libraries do!  They connect with people (in-person and virtually) through curiosity.

But Grazer takes curiosity one step further, using it as a framework for personal improvement through a series of regular “Curiosity Conversations.”  It is his personal mission to meet new people and talk with them about their lives.  The conversations go in many directions, letting curiosity take the