In thinking back on our time together this semester, I find myself going back to past readings and lectures as I encounter certain issues at work. This class has a made me much more sensitive, empathetic and thoughtful in my daily routine. I can be in the middle of a meeting, or talking to a fellow staff member and, suddenly, I remember something that I read that can apply to the situation. This begs the question: What did I do before this class?
Over time in the same job, you can get a little jaded. Everyone needs to be shaken up and reminded why they entered a profession. This class woke me (if I can be so bold as to borrow a current social movement term?) . I first registered for this class thinking it was more about new technology and how to apply it in the library world, and I was happily surprised to realize that it was so much more. This class reminded me of all that is right with librarianship and all that we still need to do. In this last week’s readings, three articles stood out as crucial to being successful:
“Making mistakes in our daily work” by Cheetham and Hoenke is a conversation between two librarians on the importance of trying new things and not being embarrassed if they don’t work. They have given us permission to play, experiment and stretch the boundaries of new ideas–all in plain sight of our patrons. This was one of the major takeaways from this class for me. However, I have to caution that a person needs the right management to be able to do this with regularity. There was a point in time in my career when I was not allowed to experiment and so I slowly got out of taking chances. Luckily, I’m in a position now when I can stick my neck out again, fail and learn from it.
“The importance of kindness at work” by Corkindale and “Talk about compassion” by Stephens both focus on cultivating awareness outside of your own world. We get so caught up with our own projects at work and getting things done that we forget what our co-workers, users and family (including pets) might be going through. Listening to others, empathizing with them and having compassion are keys to a happy life. Please don’t let your “To-Do” list get in the way of that.
“Always doesn’t live here anymore” by Stephens shines light on the elephant in the Library: colleagues or institutions that have had “enough new things” thrown at them and may be anxious in keeping up with constant change. I have run up against roadblocks throughout my career and it can get very frustrating. In situations like this, it is important to be true to oneself and see if allies can be found to work with in breaking down the barriers. It is not hopeless, even though it seems to be on some days. When I ran into roadblocks, I found ways around them by reaching out to fellow employees outside my main department who wanted to try new things. It was wonderful to work with new colleagues and learn their perspective of the job. Having a like-minded person to work with may introduce you to new ways of doing things that might just help breakdown those roadblocks.
Do I seem to be giving advice here rather than reflecting? I think in the process of reflecting, I remembered important experiences that I thought I’d share. Best of luck to everyone in their library careers!
Cheetham, W. & Hoenke, J. (2013, August 19). Making mistakes in our daily work: A TTW conversation between Warren Cheetham and Justin Hoenke. Tame the Web. Retrieved from http://tametheweb.com/2013/08/19/making-mistakes-in-our-daily-work-a-ttw-conversation-between-warren-cheetham-and-justin-hoenke/
Corkindale, G. (2011, April 18). The importance of kindness at work. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/04/the-importance-of-kindness-at
Stephens, M. (2014, October 21). Always doesn’t live here anymore. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/10/opinion/michael-stephens/always-doesnt-live-here-anymore-office-hours
Stephens, M. (2016, April 21). Talk about compassion. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/04/opinion/michael-stephens/talk-about-compassion-office-hours/