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Friday, April 30, 2010

Small Gestures

Today I had an illuminating experience when dropping my daughter off at school. She was carrying gobs of extra stuff today, plus it was raining so she asked if I would drop her off near the door in the crazy-busy parking lot. Being a pushover, I said yes.

As I waited and waited and waited for an opportunity to back my car out of the lot and head on my merry way to work, a van with a teacher pulled in. I gave her a "wow, this is a challenge" look when she glanced at me. She shouted, "You should drop them off at the road, then you don't have to worry about this," and turned away and stalked off to the building.

My hackles rose ...and then I thought about how she could have made this comment in such a way that I would have been more receptive to her suggestion. What if she had smiled sympathetically, and then called that piece of advice, with the exact same words? That would have made a big difference. What if she had said, "It's easier if you drop them off at the road!" Somehow that would have been even easier to take, especially if accompanied by a smile.

It made me think of the interactions we have every day in libraries and the tiny ways we could tweak them to make our messages easier to receive. If you see someone do something that is obviously silly (especially if it is the 40th person that week), it's hard to remember that the way you speak and your body language can make a huge difference in the way the person takes that information in. Hmmm....lots of implications for public service in a library here, aren't there??

Good luck!

Monday, April 26, 2010


WLA members and prospective library school students are eligible to apply for the scholarships for library education and library continuing education sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. The six scholarships are funded by the WLA Foundation through generous charitable contributions. Applications are DUE JUNE 1, 2010 (a change from the previous September 15 due date). Details on the scholarships and copies of the application forms are available by following the links on the scholarship Web site at www.wla.lib.wi.us/scholarships/.