Can You Tell the Difference? Lunch with a Friend, Part 1

Today I had lunch with a dear friend who was on her way across WI (and parts of Minnesota) to pick up her son for spring break.  This friend is someone I got to know many years ago at my former library. As a homeschooling parent, she and her family use and have used multiple libraries and read and studied voraciously. With the collections of many libraries at her fingertips, she is a sophisticated library patron who really knows libraries, literacy and information.  Her engineering background gives her an eye for detail, analysis and the smarts to navigate and assess libraries like no one I've ever worked with outside the world of library staffers.

Its been almost a year and a half since she stopped at our library.  As she waited for me to wrap up a meeting so we could head out to a favorite local eatery, she browsed through the Youth Department. The first thing she remarked on after we hugged is how much the department has changed and how improved it was.  Wow, the stuff that our department has worked so hard on plus collection and content improvement; room rearrangement;  better signage and the whole changed atmosphere is noticeable?!?!?  I beamed! 

She gave me props for the change. But guess what?  I didn't make the difference!  My colleagues are the ones who stepped up to the plate when I asked them to look in new directions and be the agents of change.  They chose the books and materials. They developed new initiatives. They took charge of creating a welcoming as well as well-managed environment. My job was to throw down the gauntlet and encourage and support them in helping the department grow in new ways.

My happiness is in my team and hearing from someone well outside our daily sphere that the changes we are making are having the effect we hoped for.  So much of what we do in our daily work makes very small or incremental changes that we don't always notice.  It's great when someone can bring new eyes to appreciate what has changed - and improved.  That's a difference I think we all can be proud of.

Image: 'difference in hardness' http://www.flickr.com/photos/96703781@N00/2407761354


  1. Good on you guys! That's wonderful!

  2. How terrific to hear from someone who wasn't in the middle of it that all of your collective hard work and inspiration made a difference! Yayy!!