Libraries Are Like Snowflakes....

...no two are alike!

I've been reflecting alot on this lately. Of course, winter gets me into "the -wonder-of-snowflakes"  territory.

But really, anyone who works in libraries - for a system (county-wide, regional or state-wide); for a multi-branch system; in stand-alone libraries in neighboring municipalities dotted one after another in large urban areas or far-flung neighbors in rural counties - gets this true uniqueness of each library and branch.

We all share the core values of librarianship. We all work to improve the way we serve our communities through working through standards developed for youth work like the ALSC and YALSA competencies. We network like maniacs.

But still and all, each library and each different staffer in a continuing round of leavings and hirings; changing demographics and adaptation to opportunities bring unique talents, education, perspectives, ideas, talents and skills to the table. New wrinkles; successes from past jobs; new adaptations; realignments; tweaks and new directions based on each community and neighborhood served.

It gives me a constant frisson of delight to walk into every library - and re-visit and re-visit  - to see all the changes, innovations and amazing inventions that are an ever-evolving part of each library's landscape. It's people, it's learning, it's snowflakery!

One of my favorite return trips involve visits to libraries where I have worked - whether as a line staffer or manager. I love what gets brought to the table. New staff and managers bring  new approaches and expand services in new directions - seemingly un-thought of but all perfectly and deliciously unique and evolutionary.

Old YS Department arrangement - preschool area
Older kids area in back of room

Ranganathan's Fifth Law: The Library is a growing organism.

The preschoolers....
...get the protected area by far end of the room.
The other day I was delighted to see the youth area at my old stomping grounds flipped. The preschool area is nestled far from the exit in a more protected area to prevent toddler run-aways from making their escape easily outside and into the insanely busy parking lot. The older kids get first dibs at the entrance with internet computers, a whiteboard (with kids invited to name their space; my favorite was "Sweat Net") and the info book collection.

The older kids get the entrance
It is this variety in the midst of all our shared values and networking online and in person that strengthens my pride in and belief that library staffers will continue to problem solve, tweak, adapt, explore, discover and push - uniquely and with an always new eye - the envelope in each of their own situations. 

It's what makes us nimble. It's what makes us strong. It's what makes each and every one of us and each and every one of our libraries so like much like a snowflake - something to be be appreciated for its individuality and celebrated collectively.

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