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What about Optimism?

October 1, 2008

So from the title of today’s post, you can probably tell that I’m getting a little frustrated by only hearing about doom and gloom all the time on every issue. It is easy to slip into pessimism about the state of the libraries, the state of the nation and the state of the world. But to me, that is way too much like giving up or giving in. Instead, let’s be optimistic–at least where libraries and librarians are concerned. There are a lot of great things that are happening out there and a lot of ways to turn a lot of glass half-empty scenarios into glass half-full scenarios. And no, I’m not saying to ignore reality, rather I’m saying let’s bend reality into what works for us.

Case 1: Jeff Jarvis’ amazing article Let’s Junk the Myths and Celebrate what We’ve Got.
I love this article. Jarvis could be describing how many librarians feel about the Internet and new technologies, couldn’t he? He completely underscores what I try to get across in this blog: yes there is junk on the Internet, but there is so much potential too.

Case 2: Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere
Everyone just has to get on board with the fact that blogs are not going away anytime soon. In fact, more are coming online every day. So libraries and librarians need to continue to get out in the blogosphere and engage others. It’s not enough to have a website and think that we have a web presence to the extent we need. Nor should marketing only occur through the library’s website–we need to be more than a website to our patrons in order to stay relevant.

Case 3: Library Quote #1 & Library Quote #2
There are two great photographs of pillars inside a library with library quotes on them. How cool an idea is that? The photographer, unfortunately, kept all rights reserved instead of using a Creative Commons License so I did not directly paste them in this blog. I encourage you to check them out though. But if you don’t want to click through, the quotes are as follows:
“A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library” Shelby foote
“I don’t believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians” Gorilla librarian sketch-Monty Python

Always remember, never take yourself or your job too seriously. If we can still have fun, we can stay relevant and be optimistic about our place and task in the grand scheme of society.

As I always leave my students with a final thought for the day, I’ll leave you with one too that will help you keep your optimism. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~Mark Twain

Comments welcome. Stay optimistic and curious and you will be able to find creative ways of doing the work of the library.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Tom Holt permalink
    October 3, 2008 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the quotes and for the Jarvis article. We can always lose ourselves to the negative, so being reminded to “celebrate” the positive, or find the positive …, is helpful.

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