This week we tried something new for the Benson Memorial Library. Every time something new comes up there’s always a worry that it may not work out. But in order to have new things and build community you have to take chances and see what’s out there.
We didn’t come up with the idea for the Breastfeeding Cafe. The idea came from employees at the Meadville PA area WIC office. According to their Executive Director they were inspired by the Parent Cafe idea and they wanted to offer something similar for parents with newborns who had questions, struggles, and victories to share around breastfeeding. The program started out in Meadville, PA (the largest city in our county) and was successful there. I saw flyers for it when visiting the Meadville Public Library and it hit me….why can’t our city of Titusville (which is 25 miles away) have this as well? I remember the struggles and victories that my partner Haley had with breastfeeding and our children and thought about how it would have been nice if there was community around to support her during those times. This was a chance for me to help bring that support network into my community.
After a quick email to some local contacts I was quickly put in touch with the Executive Director of the WIC office over in Meadville who could make this program happen in Titusville. There was great enthusiasm on all sides of the picture and a date, time, and the library as the location were scheduled.
Yesterday was the first ever Breastfeeding Cafe at the Benson Memorial Library and we had 9 attendees. Everyone reported back that they enjoyed their time and felt a sense of community. The success of this event led to another being scheduled for August 2019. For this moment in time, the Breastfeeding Cafe is a thing that will happen in the community of Titusville, PA.
It’s been awhile since I did something like this at my job. As an Executive Director there is an overwhelming amount of time where I feel trapped in the same cycles of doing the same budgeting, paperwork, HR, and more. Life and work can get stuck in loops and cycles. Seeing the Breastfeeding Cafe happen outside of my community and recognizing that this kind of thing was needed in my community snapped me out of one of those loops. It got me to recognize the importance of “giving things a go” and not worrying about if things will work out or not. I kind of totally forgot about that! I think that used to be part of my Youth Services Librarian brain but over time I just haven’t used it enough to keep it sharp.
It also reminded me of the importance of sticking your neck out there sometimes to just simply ask if something can happen and then following through to make sure it does happen. It’s amazing what happens when you ask a question.