Working on a Growth Mindset

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I was struck by a 2015 post on the InformED website that Stephen Abrams linked to on cultivating a growth mindset.

It wraps into much of my thinking as someone who feels like a day is a lost cause if I don't learn something new - about the profession, about myself, about the world (both locally, regionally and globally), about how others experience the world. Learning is what I do.

Sharing that learning is also what I do. I have been teaching and sharing through classes, lectures, presentations, mentoring, informal chats in hallways, linking people to people, (more recently) this blog for more than thirty years.  We are lucky to be in a marvelously connected profession where we can celebrate all the ways of knowing and providing services.

Over all that time my thinking and consideration of youth work has grown and changed as I have absorbed far more than I shared from my reading, listening and attendance at conferences.

Most recently, I was struck by the learning that went on at the ALSC Institute in Cincinnati. Sessions were focused on research and on "how I run my library good". The research was bracing. The practical sessions included not just the triumphs but honest assessments of the rocky path there - the obstacles, fails and solutions that made the project or plan truly work for each community.

A key to this conference is that it really is all learning all the time - not just in information sessions -and provides ample time to connect with and meet many new people. Because the Institutes are located in areas that ALA conferences never come to, it is an extraordinary opportunity to meet library staff from the regions surrounding the conference and learn a ton. I came knowing very few people and left knowing lots of new colleagues that I met during breaks, at receptions, at meals and sitting next to me at sessions. It's exciting not just to hang out with people you know but to reach out and include everyone.

That personal learning is powerful especially at a conference whose theme was diversity and inclusion. My take-aways included learning about links to inclusive programming; the importance of identity in programming, and sharpening my eye in terms of decolonializing book selection and my work in making sure I do this. It made the closing session a painful reminder of how there is much work to be done here and I need to be part of that work in my sharing and learning.

Growth mindset. Learning. A sense of and a re-commitment to: "We can all do better".

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