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Abstract

In 2006 Peter Senge, who coined the term the learning organization, wrote, “As the world becomes more interconnected and business becomes more complex and dynamic, work must become more ‘learningful’... It’s just not possible any longer to to figure it out from the top, and have everyone else following the orders of the ‘grand strategist’” (p. 4). Senge documented the need for professions and organizations that can change, that can quickly adapt, be nimble, learn, and find new opportunities in the changing information landscape. Libraries are not immune from this kind of pressure. In this case study, first presented at the 2017 LACUNY Institute, three library faculty members describe a team with the salient characteristics of commitment and nimbleness, a team that aims to be this new, “non-traditional” team, one that is in alignment with best practices for change management and learning organizations, and with the work of Etienne Wenger and others on Communities of Practice (CoPs). After describing the team’s background and formation, this case study presents the results of a mid-year survey, along with a list of the team’s work and accomplishments, as evidence of productivity and team members’ satisfaction. Specific benefits and challenges of the team’s structure and processes are discussed. Finally, best practices for this type of committed and agile teamwork are drawn from the CoP literature and this case study, and some of the ways this “learningful” experience may impact faculty as individuals, and what that may mean for the future of the library, are considered.

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