Shhhhh – You’re in the Library!

If that is your image of a library, it has been a while since you’ve been in one.  We are a busy place with families coming and going, teens hanging out in a space designed just for them and meeting rooms that are full most of the time.  Last fall Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, several local firefighters and Dylan Sachinger, the Wyoming MDA Goodwill Ambassador, kicked off the Fill-A-Boot campaign on the west lawn of the library.  One of the people in the library right after the event was beaming and said, “This library is really the hub of the community!”  That is what we hope to be for you, for our neighborhood, for our city and for our county.

One aspect of being a community hub is that all ideas, all walks of life, all perspectives are welcome.  How to maintain that hub activity with this diversity and not have chaos can be a conundrum. (OK…I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence…I guess that “challenge” would have worked as easily.)

I grew up in Cheyenne.  My father was a gentleman cowboy as were most of the men he knew and worked with at the Wyoming Stockgrower’s Association.  Oh, they would disagree with each other, but it was always centered around the idea or behavior, never an attack on the person.  According to Merriam-Webster, a gentleman is a man who treats other people in a proper and polite way.  Add “cowboy” to that and you add a gentleness and generousness that defines our culture.  I’ve always felt our governors displayed those characteristics and almost all of the firefighters I’ve ever met.  We call it the Code of the West.

With our current political climate and with the polarization of our citizens surrounding many issues that have only complex solutions, treating people properly and in a polite way is now not always the case.  I recently read a great book called, “Choosing Civility: the Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct” by P. M. Forni.  I liked his simple list of 25 things each of us can do to return our society to a more civil and gracious manner of interaction.  I share them with you here, hoping they are the reminder for you that they were for me.  I need to live up to my proud heritage and the Code of West. Thank you helping me with my conundrum.

  1. Pay attention
  2. Acknowledge others
  3. Think the best
  4. Listen
  5. Be inclusive
  6. Speak kindly
  7. Don’t speak ill
  8. Accept and give praise
  9. Respect even a subtle “no”
  10. Respect others’ opinions
  11. Mind your body
  12. Be agreeable
  13. Keep it down (and rediscover silence)
  14. Respect other people’s time
  15. Respect other people’s space
  16. Apologize earnestly
  17. Assert yourself
  18. Avoid personal questions
  19. Care for your guests
  20. Be a considerate guest
  21. Think twice before asking for favors
  22. Refrain from idle complaints
  23. Accept and give constructive criticism
  24. Respect the environment and be gentle to animals
  25. Don’t shift responsibility and blame

 ~Carey Hartmann