Thursday, May 7, 2015

On Preaching To The Choir

I think most of you are probably picking up what Erin and I are laying down over here on the blog. Maybe not all of you all of the time, but most of the time most of you are smelling what we're cooking. What we're up to is Building the Unified Library Scene. However, we could be accused of preaching to the choir, talking only with folks who agree with us. Not going out and spreading the word, not going out and actually fighting any kind of real fight. There is value in preaching to the choir, I would argue.

We're building a community. All of us in our lives do this work daily, and the Unified Library Scene is about a kind of community of practice in library work. We can find support in a community, lift each other up and help each other out. A community is a safe space where you can let your emotional guard down a little bit. A community is impossible to live without.

We're exploring our beliefs. This space is not one where we want to be unchallenged. We're interested in growing. There is a base of things that we generally agree about, and we push each other to think harder and be better both in our thoughts about the Unified Library Scene and in other parts of life.

We're testing messages. A benefit of preaching to the choir is that you're preaching, and practice has myriad benefits. From a practice of writing (on deadline) to knowing what kind of messages resonate and what kind of messages spark discussion. What kind of message could we spread if we're not secure in what our beliefs are and what we want to communicate about them?

In your own organization, you may have some allies, a little choir of your own. What work you do with them does make a difference. Take some time to reflect on the kind of conversations you have with them and note all of the benefits that you're getting. It's more than a rant or a gripe session over coffee with the one person in your library who understands you. You're talking about a lot of strategic things, I would bet, and you're practicing your message.  Of course, it might sound different when you cater it to other audiences, but it might not exist at all if it weren't for your choir.

Keep Rockin'

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