I have had a great deal of time to think these past few days: I’ve been holed away in my bedroom, doped up on benedryl and steroids to help with a nasty allergic reaction I had to some plant. I look sort of like this:
My wife Haley and I began talking about the process of experimentation and how beautiful it can be. This was in reference to the garden/small urban farm she’s building. I asked her if it bothered her that some things wouldn’t pan out as she planned it and planted her vegetables. She simply said, “no. It’s fun to try new things. It’s like we’re always in beta mode, which is always neat.”
I really liked this idea of being in perpetual beta. Testing out new things and tinkering is FUN and INSPIRING. What good is life if you’re not having fun? Work is just work when it’s not fun!
I look at the things going on at my new library and I see perpetual beta. We are trying new stuff out, seeing how the process works, and refining it as we go to make the experience better for the public. Whether it be the 4th Floor trying out new things like hi-res scanning or just emptying out a room on the 2nd Floor for teens to meet, hang out, and define by what they need at that moment, we are constantly tinkering, playing, having fun, and meeting our community wherever they are.
The future of libraries lies in our ability to connect with our communities through this tinkering and fun. Have an idea? An impulse? Give it a shot. Nothing bad can happen. If it doesn’t work out perfectly, keep on tinkering.
PS: Thank you to the team at Chattanooga Public Library for being brave and bold and for encouraging me to get back to that way of thinking.