Monday, August 12, 2013

You're in the Right Place

Last night I read the excellent piece that the Chattanooga Times Free Press did on the staff and programs at the Chattanooga Public Library. Congratulations to the library staff, but even bigger congrats to the local press for such a detailed feature on the local library.

In late June I spent three days there with Nate Hill  and Justin Hoenke, plus other great staff that work throughout the library, especially on the 4th FloorA few days later I shared the stage with Corrine Hill, Nate and others on a panel about Gigabit Libraries, at the ALA Annual conference.

Everything I read in the article read true to my experiences. Chattanooga Library is an exciting place, with some wonderful people and amazing ideas. The 4th Floor is the single most exciting library space I have seen in my life. 

One thing troubled me though; the super-heroes pose photo at the top of the article. (Not the actual pose, I can forgive Nate for gazing off in the distance like that. Did you know he can actually see into the future when he looks like that?) No, what troubled me was the huge caption looming over the Chat Library heroes;

(thanks Meg for the pic)

That's a cool sentiment and all, but I'm here. Not there. I'm not in the right place. I should be there. Where all the great things are happening. Where all the library super heroes are.... 

Then I slept on it.

This morning brought fresh, more sensible thoughts of course. I am in the right place. I'm here. It's where I am that I can make the most difference. Not there, or there, or even way over there. But here.

Nowhere is perfect. I know Chattanooga Public Library isn't perfect. I was told many stories of things/services/programs that are broken. But that's the same story with every library, ever, everywhere. But the Chattanooga folks get the good press because they're getting on with it and making great things happen. I have a lot to be thankful for where I am, and am definitely reminded that I'm in the right place, right now.

A long time ago I read advice that a seasoned scientist gave a young researcher. It went something like this. When asked "Where can I study/research, in order to discover things that no-one else has found?", the old-hand replied "Start where you are, wherever you are, and look closely, more closely than anyone else has ever looked."  New things are right under our noses. Treasures wait to be unearthed, or crafted, wherever we are.

So, time to stop making excuses for myself. I'm in the right place. Let's get on with it!

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