Relationships are two-way roads

How often do we ask ourselves this? We’re planning great programs, making sure the technology is updated as regularly as we can afford, and getting coverage in the local paper. The displays are fun and colorful. Even our BluRay collection is solid. So what gives?

I like to compare our complaints to the relationship between a pair of friends. One is always calling and being proactive about getting together for coffee, dinner, a beer. The other just sits around waiting. Eventually that enthusiastic friend is going to stop and think, “Wait. Why am I the only one reaching out. Why is s/he never taking the initiative?” And the friendship sometimes ends because no one wants to be in a one-sided relationship.

So why are we, as public librarians, always complaining that our community doesn’t give us the time of day? Maybe we shouldn’t sit around waiting for patrons to walk through our doors. Maybe we should be making the appointments and finding reasons to go to them. Even arrange to have our programs out in town and sometimes bring some of our collection with us. We need to see our existence as a two-way road in order for our profession to thrive.

Over the next year, I plan to walk the walk. I want to see if I can turn my professional presence from purveyor of resources and knowledge to a regular contact in the town’s pursuit of lifelong learning. Thankfully, I have a wonderful team of colleagues to help.

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