I spend a lot of time thinking about limitations. As creative people, limitations constantly chafe. They’re perpetual thorns in our sides. We think to ourselves, “If only I had more time, more money, better resources, I’d be free to truly explore my ideas and realize unfettered creativity!”
But I don’t think that’s true. In fact, I think quite the opposite. I think that limitations – when approached from the correct perspective – can be one of the most powerful tools in a creative person’s arsenal.
OK, let me back up. Start over and give some context for that statement…
Continue reading “On the Virtues of Limitations”
Last night, the Kansas City Public Library hosted the opening reception for the Second National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color. I was honored to be a part of such a gathering! More than just an opportunity to show off our gorgeous Central Branch, it was a wonderful chance to mix and mingle with librarians from all over the country. I loved engaging so many people in passionate conversation about libraries!
Over the course of the evening, I noticed that there was one question that got asked by everyone I spoke to:
“Where did you get the money for all this?”
- Our Central Branch building is a retrofitted bank. How were we able to get the building and convert it the way we did?
- Where do we get the money to present 20-30 free-to-attend public events each month – ranging from scholarly presentations, to art and artifact exhibits, to movie screenings?
- How can we afford to keep two full-time professional graphic designers on staff?
- Where do we get the funding to maintain our dedicated business information center?
Funding questions became the ongoing theme of my evening.
Continue reading “JCLC 2012, KCPL & Library Marketing”
This is the conclusion of my project to explore different examples of multiple intelligence that I’ve encountered and how these incidences affected my approach to everything from customer service to working with colleagues. Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three & Part Four.
So what have all these experiences taught me?
- Keep an open mind.
- Recognize the ways that other people are intelligent – and acknowledge that it may not be the way you’re intelligent. It may not even be a form of intelligence you easily recognize.
- Understand that someone else’s way of seeing things is no less valid than your own.
- Don’t expect anyone to speak to you in your language – it’s your responsibility to do your best to understand theirs.
- Never assume you know what someone means before they’ve finished talking. And always ask questions before responding to make sure you understand them as they intend.
Reading through this list, it occurs to me that I’m pretty much describing a good reference interview.
Continue reading “Multiple Intelligence – Conclusion”
This is Part Four of my project to explore different examples of multiple intelligence that I’ve encountered and how these incidences affected my approach to everything from customer service to working with colleagues. Read Part One, Part Two & Part Three.
I spent a few years in my mid-20s working in the records room of a healthcare organization. When I started there, they were still using paper records and physical file folders for their data storage and retrieval. One of my co-workers was a lady in her early 70s, who had been working full-time, in one job or another, since she was 14 years old. She’d never gone to college – come to think of it, I’m not sure she ever even graduated high school.
Continue reading “Multiple Intelligence – Part IV”
This is Part Three of my project to explore different examples of multiple intelligence that I’ve encountered and how these incidences affected my approach to everything from customer service to working with colleagues. Read Part One & Part Two.
In the public affairs department where I currently work, it’s our responsibility to create promotional materials for the library’s events and programs. When another department has something going on that they want to promote, they contact us. We have certain requirements when people contact us for these things, certain pieces of information that we must have in order to do our job properly.
Of course, there are always some people who never provide us with the necessary information, no matter how many times we tell them what we need.
Continue reading “Multiple Intelligence – Part III”
This is Part Two of my project to explore different examples of multiple intelligence that I’ve encountered and how these incidences affected my approach to everything from customer service to working with colleagues. Read Part One.
At a previous job I held at a non-profit organization, I worked on event-based fundraising initiatives and managed the campaigns online. For this, we contracted to use a third-party online fundraising CMS. This system could generate a fully functional, socially-based fundraising website in 15 minutes: fill out all the fields and select some settings on the back-end, and voilà! Your website is up-and-running. Of course, we weren’t satisfied with that – we wanted our site customized and branded to the fullest extent possible. We found every tweak and hack and work-around we could to make our site look and feel like it wasn’t an out-of-the-box CMS. Within a couple of weeks of signing our contract with the vendor, we’d already been upgraded to “super user” status and, thanks to us, they’d filled out pages of ideas for improvements and expansions to roll out with future updates.
Continue reading “Multiple Intelligence – Part II”
I’m a firm believer in the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In part, it comes from my father, who spent his life as an educator; in particular, he specialized in the history and philosophy of education. But my own experiences bear out the general truth of it – different people are intelligent in different ways. The world can make perfect sense to one person in a way that makes no sense at all to someone else. This doesn’t make either person wrong, and it doesn’t mean that either sense of things is invalid. Our traditional understanding of intelligence recognizes only a very narrow scope of potential human intelligence that has been historically valued by one particular culture.
This fact lies at the heart of almost everything I’ve ever done. I’ve worked an incredible variety of jobs in my life and all of them required some understanding of how other people (co-workers, customers, etc.) see the world.
As a librarian, I’m especially aware of this reality. Our job is to help people access and use information. Success in this endeavor is entirely dependent on being able to relate information to an individual’s personal paradigm – or, in some cases, helping someone to open their mind to other paradigms entirely.
Continue reading “Multiple Intelligence – Part I”