Encouraging a Positive Outlook: The Benefits of Appreciative Inquiry in a Theological Library

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Rebecca Louise Miller
Seblewongel A. Denneque
Paige Comstock Cunningham


Librarians face a future of rapid and disconcerting change, and it is increasingly important to address this change in a constructive way. In contrast to problem-solving approaches which focus on the negative, Appreciative Inquiry helps staff recognize the good attributes of their organization and explore ways to build on those strengths for the future. This study investigated the application of Appreciative Inquiry in the context of a theological library at Trinity International University. Interviews and a summit meeting were held with staff to elicit positive characteristics of the library and their jobs. These results were then used to suggest proposals for the future. The process itself is a useful way to transform the culture of a library and create an environment that welcomes positive change.

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Peer-Reviewed Articles
Author Biographies

Rebecca Louise Miller, Trinity International University

Head of Public Services

Seblewongel A. Denneque, Trinity International University

PhD Educational Studies Candidate

Paige Comstock Cunningham, Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University

Executive Director of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity