I came home from Minneapolis with the thought that I was going to “reorg” my life. I have way too much going on and not enough time or energy to do it all. So I decided that I needed to start thinking about the things that were really important to me and what I really wanted to focus on.
In my effort to do this, I am posting my progress here to keep me honest. I’ve been back from Minneapolis for a little over 2 weeks and I haven’t gotten far. But I have started making lists of all the things I am currently involved in and what those obligations represent in time/ effort/ energy. The next step is to decide which of those I want to continue, which I can gracefully bow out of or fulfill my current obligation and those that I want to stop immediately if not sooner! And this isn’t just about work. It is about valuing my time. And learning to say no, which I traditionally have a hard time doing, especially if its something that I could be interested in or think I SHOULD be interested in.
What I realize is that this is about me being the most productive and useful in a handful of activities, committees, etc and not over-extending myself. As I start training for 3 sprint triathlons this summer, I don’t need obligations weighing me down!
Help keep me on track! If you have suggestions or want to follow the progress, I think I might try to revive my personal blog to keep track of the reorg as it goes.
(I actually started this post last night when I couldn’t sleep and I was trying to type it on my iphone. At 3:30 in the morning, when it was not working I thought that I couldn’t be more frustrated!! I realized, though, that at least what was keeping me up was this plan I had for reorganizing my life and not the roof at the library!)
While in Minneapolis for PLA I had an opportunity to visit the Minneapolis Public Library and I picked up one of their t-shirts. The back of the one that I bought reads: “If a public library is doing its job, it has something in it that offends every single person.”
What are the first things you think about when you think about “offending” someone in the library? Popular controversies are things like Harry Potter, comics and graphic novels in libraries, unfiltered internet access, etc. The usual intellectual freedom issues.
Each year we have a Dr. Seuss story time at the beginning of March, in conjunction with Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. This year we had 2 elephant shaped pinatas, to go with our “Horton Hears A Who” theme. The kids had a great, if sometimes difficult, time getting into the darn things!
However, I recently heard from a board member that a parent who attended with their child mentioned that they were disturbed by the pinatas. Because we were
“teaching children that its ok to hit animals with sticks.”
Who knew that of all things in my library what would offend someone would be pinata?!?! Of course, I have the usual fears that I really did misstep with this one. I’m not a parent and I don’t think I would be offended by something like this. I talked to number of other parents who attended and they told me they were not offended, nor would have even thought about being offended. But I recognize that not everyone has the same outlook!
Its a great reminder that it isn’t always the most obvious thing that will offend your library users or the public you serve . . . it really can what you thought was the most innocuous thing. It could be a pinata!
I just wanted to write and thank my Library Garden fellow bloggers for taking me back! I always enjoyed and wanted to continue being a part of this great community but for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t the right time for me.
But I hope that this time will be different! And special thanks to Amy Kearns for twisting my arm to return!!
I’ll be posting again soon with some notes from Minneapolis!
Glad to be back and thanks again!
Recently the local newspaper came to interview me. As usual, I was surprised for the reporter to be calling ME and not the other way around. I always look forward to talking about the library and the services that we provide. But at the outset, I’m trying to overcome the stereotype that most people have about what it means to be a librarian. Joanne Papaianni starts by saying:
Most kids, or most people for that matter, don’t equate librarians with being cool, but that’s only because they haven’t visited the Bradley Beach Public Library.
Now, as flattering as that may sound, it bothers me a bit. Because don’t we all think we’re “cool” in our way? None of us are running around saying that but we think it. But why doesn’t the general populace see us that way? Maybe this is where our profession is most lacking, in the ability to promote and market our services as “cool” or even necessary.
Ask any of the people who come into your library on a daily basis if they think the library or its staff is cool and you might be surprised. Just today Robert Lackie was visiting and talked to some of the kids sitting out in front of the library. I was VERY surprised when he came in and told me that they said I was cool.
I think that maybe all of us face this same challenge. And we all need to be doing more to overcome that stereotype of the librarian as the mean and cranky old woman (or man) who is trying to impose outdated and restrictive rules. One of the best ways is to try and garner good publicity (I happen to be lucky lately in that) which talks about libraries and librarians using new and maybe even controversial media or websites to reach out to underserved populations.
Don’t know where to start? The easiest things that I have found are to offer IM reference (and promote it) and to have a profile on a social networking site (like myspace). And we’ve all heard it before but we really need to get out from behind the desk. Be friendly (not necessarily friends) with your users/patrons. It really does make a huge difference in the perceptions that your community has of you and the services that your institution provides. Maybe over time then everyone will think of their library as “cool.”