Communities and Libraries Side by Side by Guest Blogger Linda Thompson

By Guest Blogger Linda Thompson, Coastal Branch Manager, Walton County Public Library

How fast can you adapt to change? Consider this idea. Public Libraries continue to remain viable today when their communities and librarian professionals are asking “what if?” scenario questions, are willing to be an active “unlearner” and remain in a state of continuous pursuit. Effectively, having adaptability to change.

Natalie Fratto; Venture investor and writer delivers 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability — and How to Improve It on TED, Ideas Worth Spreading. She suggests by measuring ones adaptability, you also measure how successful your future. Begin by asking “what if?” questions, be an “active unlearner” and “never fall in love with your wins” for the measuring sticks of adaptability, says Fratto.

If you are an individual, a business, or a non-profit, Fratto believes we can exercise are ability to adapt with practice, with brain stimulating ‘what-if?” questions, by forcing exploratory ideas, by challenging personal ideas and knowledge, and, if I may suggest, walking side by side with your community measuring adaptability while challenging the models and methods of current library operations.

Are you ready to explore and press towards the “adaptability to change” for the continuing furtherance of the public libraries successful role in your communities for today and tomorrow?

What if books could no longer be printed because of the short supply of paper? What if libraries had to start charging to gain access to information? What if there was a major shift in how libraries operate and the only access available was via the internet? What if all books and items on the shelves were the last ones available as printing has halted worldwide? What if we don’t presume to know the answers?

These are viable questions that force human thought into our ever increasing world of speed and change. Because of the nature of the questions seemingly larger than our surrounding walls, they also force conversation with others allowing different perspectives into our conversations.

May you also consider that if we as librarian professionals can “unlearn” as Natalie Fratto suggests, we may effectively experience or potentially “tap” into these new ideas, potentially exercising ability to experience personal growth as well? May we as library staff have the ability to become ever more viable in a world where physical books may not even exist? What if we are always asking questions so we don’t settle with the world as we know it but push ourselves to seek more? What if every day we practice at setting ourselves back to empty, “unlearn” thus, allowing contemplation of many different versions of ideas, on new environments and possibly gain new understanding suggesting an appreciation for others ideas to stimulate are thoughts?

We may discover how remaining in this state of wonder of “unlearning,” how remaining open to change by constantly looking for improvements, how, as Fratto says, ‘to never fall in love with your wins” may be excellent guides we may subscribe to for a healthy, viably “organic” library environment and for all its staff, community and friends. One that is diverse.

One that asks “what if?” questions to its community. One that embraces the ideas, perspectives, talents, abilities and potential skills the community offers. One that is open to the different knowledge sets, recognizing how there isn’t one “right way” but potentially many “new ways” once we reset ourselves back to empty, “unlearn.” This is attainable.

Adaptability takes a concerted effort that needs nurturing and time to develop. It is a chosen process. It is, as Fratto points out, potentially a tool to measure for one’s individual success or an organization’s future success. It is potentially a means to secure the viability of the Public Library along with the library profession in its community.

How fast can you adapt to change?

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