Tuesday, January 20, 2015

And they're playing it again

It has to start somewhere.
It has to start sometime.
What better place than here?
What better time than now?
--Guerilla Radio, Rage Against the Machine

At some point during my time at my first official Librarian-ing job after finishing my MLS program, I typed those lyrics and put them on the bulletin board next to my computer. I typed them in a particularly large font and put them in a place where I would always see them. I even made a copy of them for one of my colleagues who still has them, several years later.

It was important for me to see those lyrics because they held me accountable. Some days I felt too busy to think about how I could make my Library a more user-centered place. Other days I felt too apathetic to even consider how I could swim against the tide of "this is how we've always done it." But those lyrics kept me focused on why I was there and on what I wanted to accomplish. That change you want to see, they said to me, it has to start with you. So what are you waiting for?

For me, those song lyrics have been a mantra. They bring me back to center when my mind wanders and help me to clear out the mental fog that comes with being up to my elbows in meetings and reports and things that need to be done. They make space for me to remember why I choose everyday to work in Librarianship.

I haven't posted those lyrics yet on the bulletin board at my desk at my not-quite-so-new job and I can feel their absence. Nothing beats having that reminder in your face all the time.

So my advice is this: Find that thing that centers you, helps you clear the fog, and helps you make a space to remember what's important. Song lyrics are important to me, but maybe something else works better for you: a poem, a quote, a picture, or some feedback from a library user or colleague. Whatever it is for you, put it in a place where you can see it every day. And let it hold you accountable when you attention, and intentions, begin to wander.

Stay positive,

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