An incredible thing happened tonight. One of my favorite library trustees and patrons told me that I’m known as “our Chelsea” around the building where she lives.
For someone with a goal to be known as “your librarian” in town, it was magical to hear. I’ve only worked for this community for a little over two years. I still have a long way to go when you consider how many residents have yet to be infected with my doctrine. (Side note: Peter Shankman’s Zombie Loyalists is a must read for anyone with the same goal.)
I want to believe that most public librarians are driven to this profession due to a personal urgency to be of value to a community. But I rarely see it. Yes, we have to deal with unfortunate situations – mental illness, porn on computers, surprise poop on the floor (not a joke) – on a daily basis. Sometimes you have to turn to wine or you’ll surrender to the dark side. If we make it our personal missions to effect the lives of our patrons, however, the end result provides the perfect balance that will steel us for the frustrating episodes of serving the public.
So it may seem insignificant, but a minor comment like this makes a librarian feel that much more connected to the provided services. And thank you chocolates. We love those.
My goal last year was to get published at least once. It’s a bit delayed, but my chapter “Google Alerts, Trends, Chrome in Public Relations” in Carol Smallwood’s Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries is finally available!
Unfortunately, I can’t post the content here. I signed those rights away. Hope my copy arrives soon, though, so I can share it in-person.
UPDATE: The editor of this volume shortened my chapter’s intro and didn’t bother to show me. The edits she published completely change the meaning of the language I used! So now it’s incorrect and makes me look like a moron. She also proved my point that librarians generally have no idea what branding is and clearly refuse to learn.
I will never submit anything to this woman again because she is terrible at editing. So disappointed.
It has long been a goal of mine to develop groups within the library. I don’t just mean book clubs or intellectual groups either. With meetup.com being one way for folks with common interests to meet each other, who says that has to be the only platform?
I see these groups serving two purposes: 1. to bring people into the library by providing space and assistance for programming related to their interest; and 2. to send out a visible representation of the library into town. It would be a way for the library to directly integrate itself into the community by fostering education on topics–such as theater, photography, food or Fantasy sports–as well as encouraging the groups to get out of the building and do something as a library entity.
I’ve been lucky to come into a library with a thriving Write Group. This group has various weekly meetings and all types of monthly events. They also don’t restrict themselves to the library building, but go out into our community to be a “support group” for other writers. They’ve been successful for years and I speak with their leadership often. It’s a perfect example of what I’ve been looking to do.
The main obstacle to starting a group like this is time (isn’t it always?). Having the capacity to oversee a mini-organization isn’t organic. However, once a pattern of group creation and recruitment is developed, I see the potential for each group to be self-run things; provided they still report back to the library, there is no reason not to allow the groups to elect their own leaders and have the freedom to evolve as they want and need. Thankfully, the Write Group has a lot to teach me and will be a great resource as I develop plans and explore the interests of the town.