Day/Time: Wednesday, May 12, 2:45 PM to 3:45 PM


  • Karen Bjork, Portland State University
  • Johanna Meetz, The Ohio State University


We are passionate about our work, and it can be difficult to say “no.” Each project also has the potential to move our program or initiative forward. However, sometimes saying “no” is the more strategic choice; particularly now that Libraries are facing additional budgetary and staffing constraints due to COVID-19 pandemic.

In this session, the panelists will facilitate a collaborative conversation about how saying “no” can be difficult, and what happens when limited resources (staff or budgetary) mean you can’t say “yes” anymore. We will focus on publishing programs that are ready to make a transition from saying “yes” to all (or most) publishing opportunities to being more selective and saying “no” using a business plan for library publishing as a model (McCready, K.; Molls, E. Developing a Business Plan for a Library Publishing Program. Publications 2018, 6, 42.

As initiatives grow and evolve, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate new projects in the context of ongoing commitments and capacity to take on additional work. Making these kinds of choices allows us to maintain the program’s sustainability.

The session leaders will provide real-life scenarios where they have said “no” to projects, the reasons why, and the consequences (if any) of saying “no.” We have a group discussion around:

  • The pros and cons of different solutions that might allow some flexibility as resources are running low
  • Convincing other stakeholders that saying “no” is necessary
  • Choosing to say “no” when you’d really like to say “yes,” as well as the joy that can be found in saying “no” to something that you’re happy to turn down
  • Overcoming the difficulties of saying “no, we can’t keep working together,” to a longtime partner
  • The challenges of juggling other non-publishing related duties, such as traditional scholarly communication librarianship responsibilities