William Brett is father of the open-shelf library system, in which patrons don’t have to go through a librarian to find books.
Brett, who joined Western Reserve University’s library school in 1904, encountered some resistance. Critics said his idea would lead to theft and pandemonium in the stacks.
Instead, it doubled circulation, reduced staffing needs and resulted in fewer lost books.
Lesson: When you spot a chance to make efficiencies, don’t assume people will be on their worst possible behavior.
— Adapted from “Forward Thinking 50,” Melissa Evans Persensky, Think.