I saw a change recently at the library I used to work and I got happily excited. It was a BIG change! It had nothing to do with my time working there and the change was wholly delightful.
It got me thinking...
The best part of librarianship for me is the way we are always pushing forward. While change is anathema for many people, I find it refreshing.
Some people see change in confrontational terms and so fear it. Rather than looking at change as expanding our knowledge, it becomes easier to feel threatened, think in terms of "this vs. that" and trot out worn-out tropes to try and put on the brakes. We've all seen discussions like this - fear of using apps with kids; fear of re-configuing a children's area or collection; fear of having diverse award winners; fear of creating breaks in programming. It may be only a voice or two but that fear of change is front and center.
If we didn't make changes, evolve our service and experiment to find better models, we wouldn't see the transformations that libraries of all types have been going through. And we wouldn't be serving the ever-changing demographics and needs of our community. We would simply stand still. Our professional growth, our service to our community would be frozen in a drop of fossilized resin.
I think often about change. As a career-long change-agent, I like to see work flow from a place of discovery, to a place of experimentation, to a place of knowledge that leads us inevitably to a place of discovery that starts the cycle all over again . It's that "pushing the envelope" that helps us adapt and create.
That envelope is seldom pushed alone. Co-workers and peers around the country may lead us or may follow our lead. We discover in a million big and small ways - through journals, social media, CE opportunities, partnerships or information outside of librarianship that awaken us to new possibilities - how we can tweak, and finangle, and build and tear down.
Change is done with reflection, planning, big sky visioning and preparation. It is also accomplished through patience, attention to detail, training of staff (and patrons!) and research. Combining the big and small helps to bring staff and patrons on board for success.
And most importantly, change never belongs to just one person. It is an accumulation of many threads woven together from many sources by many hands. Successful changes almost always owe a long line of people profound thanks for their efforts and foundational thinking.
I take great pleasure in watching sea changes happen at my former libraries after I leave any job. I am a huge believer in no one - and nothing that they have done or created - being irreplaceable or unchangable. Seeing how approaches, thinking, methods and models are grown differently, mightily and through new vision and ideas delights me.
While not all change is earth-shattering, all change is transforming. And that transformation is what pushes us from the past to meeting the future.
Oh, and what transformed that got me this excited at the library?
|The new Kid Lab wall at La Crosse (WI) Public Library -|
a eye-catching, kid-catching magnetic chalkboard
that gets school kids right in the action