Director’s Desk – Fall 2022
“The only constant in life is change.”Heraclitus (Greek Philosopher)
This year has been one for the books, in many ways. Like many of our members, OhioNet has experienced changes in staffing, structure, services, and even our physical location. And while those changes have all had positive aspects, they have also introduced stressors into our organization. So, how do we deal with that?
I can think of two specific things that have helped me stay centered as I lead through these changes. First, I remember that change is not punishment. Instead, I focus on how the changes we have experienced afford us opportunities to serve our members in new and improved ways. When a team member outgrows a position, we’re happy that we were part of that growth even as we take the opportunity to reassess how we might best serve our members through the open position. Changing physical locations for us meant less time caring for an aging building, and more time in a collaboratively-designed workspace, while retaining the ability to host in-person workshops and trainings without the worry of parking challenges. (And we’re still close to many great dining options – we know that matters to attendees). The addition of customizable consulting services continues to offer new ways to support you, our members, in your work with your teams and communities. Stressors, change, growth – they may all involve some discomfort and yet the rewards are worth the effort.
The second thing that keeps me centered is my word for 2022 – Fearless. In a prior year’s article, I mentioned a tool I use annually called YearCompass. This year as I worked through the workbook, I determined that I was going to be fearless. That does not mean that I live without fear. Is that even possible? What it means is that I live despite it. I say yes to new opportunities and am willing to try new things despite any fear or trepidation I may be experiencing in the moment. This year, that led me to say yes more than no, and as a result I was able to experience things that I might not have otherwise. It also led to new opportunities for both growth and reflection.
One reflection is that some trends in our field have NOT seemed to change or grow despite multiple stressors that are sometimes decades in the making. We (the collective “we” being librarianship) seem to continue to struggle with real, actionable, demonstrable growth in the areas of diversity and inclusion. We still struggle to show we value people – whether through the salaries we offer, the work environments we create, or by continuing to ask for unpaid labor (from committee work to not paying our invited speakers at hosted events) when we have the ability to solve these issues.
So now, as I almost always do at the end of a post, I ask you:
- How can we, individually and as a profession, lean into our fears and try new things?
- How do we cultivate environments open to growth?
- What might happen if we start to demonstrate that we value people?
- What will happen if we don’t?
As this year winds down and you consider the concept of change in all its infinite meanings, I will leave you with one last quote, this time from Benjamin Franklin: “When you are finished changing, you are finished.”
Wishing you a safe close to 2022 and a growth mindset for 2023,
View the rest of OhioNet’s Fall 2022 newsletter here.