One of the highlights of our year as an organization is always the conference. The opportunity to see old friends and the possibility for making new ones creates an excitement that cannot be duplicated by other events. Perhaps because we are a association of library staff who are, for the most part, isolated during the year, or perhaps because our work in small communities gives us insight into the power of face-to-face networking, the conference is always a big deal. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to do what you can to be there.
But beyond the 3 days that make up the annual conference, I encourage you to become active in this, your organization; for this is your organization. A place where those serving as a vital element in the life of their community can communicate, and sometimes commiserate, about their situations. Where you can “pick the collective brain” for solutions, and resources from those who are doing what you are doing, in the next town down the road. ARSL is an organization for you, powered by it’s members.
At the conference and for several weeks after, we will be issuing a call for committee members. As a growing organization, with an all volunteer board, we rely on the help and participation of our members. If you are in Texas for the conference, stop by the table we will have set up with committee information and see what part you can play. If you cannot come to Texas, look for that same message over the listserv. There is a piece to this puzzle that has your name on it. Get involved. It is the best way to assure that the ARSL remains your organization, carrying your message and speaking with the voice of rural librarians everywhere.
Well the Vancouver Olympics have begun, with medals being given to those who are the fastest, the strongest, the best at what they do. I would, however, suggest that small and rural libraries have been involved in a Library Olympic competition of our own. Here are a few of the events that we see daily.
We have the Short Track Circulation Desk Relay Competition where staff strive to serve customers and check in items while not running into each other or tripping over the carts of items stored behind the desk.
There is also the Reference Desk Bi-athalon, an entertaining sport that requires the participants to do any two skills from the following at the same time: answering reference questions, offering reading suggestions, solving computer problems, fixing a stuck printer, explain why we can’t do your taxes for you or fielding phone calls. Points are given for style, smile, customer satisfaction and being able to discern what the customer wants versus what they actually asked.
If you like team sports then you should watch the infamous Downhill Weather SuperG which pits an entire library staff and their movie collection against the fury of Mother Nature in full winter mode.
and here is an Olympic quote for the week –
“The important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete.”
– Pierre de Coubertin (French Educator, primarily responsible for the revival of the Olympic Games in 1894)
Like many of you, I am enjoying the fall spectacle that is playoff baseball. As a Phillies fan, I truly enjoyed the game the other evening as the teams battled through all 9 innings. Neither one gave up, neither one rolled over or surrendered, they continued until the last out was made. It was exciting. It nearly gave me a nervous breakdown, but it was exciting. (my sympathies to any Rockie fans out there)
Many of us in “library land” are in the midst of a struggle, a playoff of our own, so to speak. We battle against those who cut our funding, who seek to marginalize us, who do not understand or desire intellectual freedom or who think that perhaps we should just go the way of the dinosaur. But I encourage you to consider that even if you feel as if you are in the bottom of the ninth with 2 out, you are still in the game. Good teams do not resign themselves to losing games, they continue to play because you just never know what could happen.
Also, good teams work together. They encourage each other, they cover the errors of other players, they give 100%. Many of you are doing this – and we applaud you! But there is one more thing – good teams are a team. No one player gets a team to the playoffs or wins a World Series. It is a team – not just the men on the field, not only those in the dugout. That’s why teams give their staff WS rings – we don’t see them, we don’t applaud them, but they contribute. You are not in this difficult time alone. There are other’s battling alongside you.
So I say all this to get to this point. Although you may feel like it is the 9th inning and you are about to lose – the game “ain’t over ’til it’s over.” We will continue to play and here’s the catch, as long as we do, we win.