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3 Mar 2008 / Julie

It really is all about the Magic.

I’ve had a bunch of post ideas running through my head the last 2 months, but until tonight I haven’t been really that inspired to write anything.

This weekend, when I saw my mom at a baby shower for her friend’s youngest daughter, she handed me a bag full of VHS-C tapes full of family memories that she wanted me to convert to DVD for her.

So i’m sitting in front of the tv tonight watching the Spectro Magic parade and fireworks at Walt Disney World from June 19, 1993- the day before my 11th birthday- and I’m suddenly overwhelmed with awe. I feel like i’m 10 again with a huge ability to suspend disbelief and dive face first into fantasy, magic, and light. Then it hits me. Disney was right- It IS all about the magic.

I haven’t been to Disney World since I was a kid so I don’t know how it’s changed or if they’re still just as good as they used to be, but my memory tells me that the whole point of Disney World was to take you in and envelop you in magic and lightness. An invisibility cloak to the outside world, if you will. This is no small feat- as we’re reminded everyday of adulthood- it’s not easy to make things look easy. I was always amazed watching the “behind the scenes” documentaries or features on the Disney Channel- about the miles and miles of underground offices, electronics, and hallways that help hide all the hard work that goes into all the magic.

Just because we’re not employed by Disney, or living in Florida or California doesn’t mean we can’t be all about the magic too.

We librarians seem to take what we do for granted. I keep hearing things like “Can’t these people look it up themselves? It’s easy!” It’s NOT easy- well for us it is- but not for the general populous. If it was, we wouldn’t need librarians- we’d all know how to find information… good quality information… and fast!

Our journey as librarians is to bring the magic to our customers. No, we don’t want to hide all our secret tricks down in the underground tunnels- but we do want to WOW them. Okay, so we don’t all wear a gazillion lightbulbs on our dresses, ride around on floats or go around singing

Music surrounds us
Laughter that found us
Twirling around this
Carousel of light and laughter!

We shall remember
This moment together
Let this night forever
Live in our dreams!

but we can wow and delight our customers. We can take each interaction with them as a chance to make a difference in their lives with the information we provide them, and the relationship we build. It’s not about numbers, quotas, or “giving them whatever and sending them on their way.” It’s about taking the time to let each person know they’re important- that their information need is important- and that we’re going to take the time to make sure they have what they need.

There’s another important difference between Disney Magic and Librarian Magic (and we do have it) is while Disney tries to keep their behind-the-scenes hidden, librarians shouldn’t. We don’t need to make it look hard- but there should be some transparency to what we do. People need to know that we do have some tricks up our sleeves that most “regular people” don’t have. We’re librarians. We know where the information is. (And if we don’t- give us a moment, we’ll find it.) Not only should we be looking for teaching moments within every transaction, we should be finding things for people that they couldn’t find. Sending a google results page (which, i hate to admit i’ve seen in chat reference) isn’t helping a customer- they could do that themselves (and probably did). If we aren’t giving customers more than they could figure out themselves, they won’t bother coming to us again- and we’ll lose the opportunity to wow or delight them a second time.

As my dvd-conversion comes to an end, i’m brought back to reality- but the magic will always live inside me (and thanks to this video artifact i can bring it back to consciousness whenever i want). I challange us all to make the magic live on.

For now, though, I’ll climb on my furniture pretending to fight Captain Hook all while wearing my ears. :-)

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