do you create space for learning opportunities?
although my cake will have 29 candles on it this year (i think we’ve reached the fire hazard zone) i will technically be starting my 30th year. and recently i’ve been thinking about my past lives and previous eras trying to figure some things out before decide where i want my journey to continue.
which of course got me thinking about libraries…
the cultures of our libraries differ as much as the people who work for them and the customers who use them. some are flexible in the playing, failing, and playing again. others probably haven’t revisited themselves in a long time and are probably going forth in the same step, pace and direction they were 20 years ago.
it’s like the scene in the Polar Express where they’re trying to get the train back on the tracks after it had skidded off into the ice field. little corrections here and there will keep you in the direction you want to go; it doesn’t necessarily take huge changes every time. you do, however, have to be aware of where you’re going. As long as you know still know where you’re going, even if there’s no change in direction, speed, or step, you won’t wake up one day and go “wait, huh?”
at MPOW we’re very conscious of where we can learn and as a baby service (only6 years old) in a baby profession (virtual reference – around 10 years) there’s still tons we can learn and (re)invent. we are frequently checking to make sure we know what direction we’re going in.
but what happens when either personally or professionally you wake up one day and say “how the heck did we get here?” when you keep your nose to the grindstone and forget to look up, gaze around and take stock, its very easy to miss your stop or connection your train. to avoid this happening, is there a standard practice for organizations (libraries, specifically, who need to be nimble and limber) to revisit and make sure they’re still on the right course?
one of the milestones when everyone takes stock is during tough financial times. we tend to go back to basics and make sure that what we’re providing is the best (and cheapest) we can, eliminating any dead weight, services, or expectations. but what happens when times are good? when budgets are full of life and hope? when profits are up or life is good? do we forget to reflect and learn? learning doesn’t just happen when failure occurs; learning from successes makes it that much more possible to repeat success in the future.
I envision a place that looks back and brings forth learning opportunities on a regular basis with new projects but also with current and long-standing systems. what works? what doesn’t? were there any missed opportunities? what can we learn from this?
what’s the culture like in your organization? i’d like to hear from you. do you (personally or professionally) or your place of work have schedule or procedure for revisiting and learning from things previously done or not done? if not, why not?
i thank you all in advance for your feedback and perhaps challenge you to be the spark of awareness that may initate some change.