Are you experiencing any changes in your life? I just saw a friend this morning when getting coffee that I hadn’t seen in years. She’d just started a new job after being out of the workforce for a year. We jokingly talked about change and having to get to a job on time and take direction from a supervisor. Big changes.
Your library is still experiencing some changes with the transition in library leadership that occurred last summer. I’ve been the Laramie County Librarian for not quite a year. We’ve done some internal reorganization, you may have noticed some rebranding in our business cards and new nametags. Small changes.
Many years ago I attended an international library leadership retreat where the presenter talked about a historic concept of change. Things would be the same for long periods of time; there would upset, turmoil and upheaval; and then a new normal would settle in for another long period of time. How is change experienced for most of us in the 21st Century? White water rafting is now the analogy used. We are in white water and preparing for real rapids. We hit those rapids and then we have a bit of an eddy before we are at it again. No real stopping to find that new normal.
I regularly read books and websites addressing change in the workplace and I am always on the lookout for inklings of trends that may be a signal for changes in our community or world that may affect library users. I am fascinated with times in history that have been the gap time of transition. Thomas Cahill calls them “hinges”, when humans on this earth are in the transition time from one era or age to another. We might well just be living in one of those hinge times. The book I am currently reading addresses that time of transition in the workplace. William Bridges’ book “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change” is in its third edition. Bridges writes “Change is something that happens to people, even if they don’t agree with it. Transition, on the other hand, is internal: it’s what happens in people’s minds as they go through change. Change can happen very quickly, while transition usually occurs more slowly.” His basic model is letting go, being in a neutral zone where nothing is normal and then new beginnings. I’ve found it pretty easy to test the concept of this model by applying it to past transition times in my life; new job, new house, extended illness of a family member, new baby. I know there have been times I’ve gotten stuck holding tight to what I didn’t want to let go of or rushed too quickly to the new beginning without letting things fully form. The concept holds true in my examples.
Your library will internally be moving through another transition soon as we welcome the new Deputy Director of Public Service, Jeff Collins. Everyone on the current library management team achieved their positions through promotion from within the organization. What Jeff’s new set of eyes, unique perspective from other libraries where he has worked and his passion for data analysis will bring to the management team will surely mean a time of letting go, sorting things out in the neutral zone and new beginnings.
Big changes, big opportunities, big transition…we are very ready to move forward to do more to meet your needs.
~Carey D. Hartmann