Family, Fidelia Hall, Libraries, Life, Titusville, PA

Never Stop Looking Up

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Take a moment and look up wherever you may be on this Earth.

The trees all around us in Titusville, PA these days are budding, ready to sprout new leaves that will provide us some protection from the sun in the upcoming summer months. A familiar sound reemerges in those trees. The songs and chirps of birds have returned after a few months absence. We are happy to have all of this back after the winter.

A few days ago we sat in our treehouse and heard a very loud sound coming from the trees above. Finn remarked that it must be a hawk because of how loud it was and his idea of what a hawk would sound like. I agreed with him. It sounded like the bird that opened The Colbert Report. We continued to monitor the treetops, looking for our elusive hawk. We only saw the turkey vultures that usually circle the area above our home. It wasn’t them making this sound…it had to be something else, something hidden.

Out of the corner of our eyes we spied two blue jays doing a little song and dance for each other. We were amazed that that sound could come from a blue jay. We enjoyed the dance they did for each other, weaving from branch to branch with ease and grace. Finn, Aero, and I learned something new together. I was reminded how amazing the world can be if we just take a moment to look up. Never stop looking up. You will learn something new when you look up at the world in a different way. I am 37.5 years old and I never knew what a blue jay sounded like until I looked up. Finn and Aero reminded me to do that. I’m now passing that along to you. Have a nice day.

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Life, Things, Travel, Uncategorized

Slow Down

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Besides the people, one of the things that I miss the most about Australia and New Zealand is their speed at which life occurs. Simply stated, it is all just a little bit slower. There’s morning tea. There’s afternoon tea. There’s no clock breathing down the back of your neck. There are times where you have to be somewhere and times where things have to start/stop, but there’s not the nagging sense of I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME. Time exists, but NZ and Australia are not owned by time. It’s just something that is there. Like it should be to all of us

America has a lot of issues to resolve, but I think one of the biggest that we face is our breakneck speed at which we approach everyday life. For some reason, we need to be the best. We have to be the fastest, the first, the number one. We like to win. But it shouldn’t be that way. It’s OK to be second or third. Heck, it’s OK to sometimes not even be part of the conversation. We need to slow down. Appreciate the trees and the birds and each other. Have some tea and just sit around. Talk about shit. Think about how amazing this could be for our health, both physical and mental! We wouldn’t have to be a bundle of nerves and aching backs and knees all the time. Slow it down!

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Breakfast in NZ and Australia was something that I always looked forward to. It was always full of good food and time to just take in the beginning of the day. The workers who prepared my food and served it to me were always kind (maybe cause they were not working for tips and instead were paid a decent and honest wage??!?!) and did not rush me. This was a good start to the day. I think we all should adopt this practice.

When I got back to the States, my wife Haley started talking about a Danish concept that I was sort of familiar with called Hygge. We chatted about it, shared links about the idea (like this one: Winter Doldrums Got You Down? Have Some ‘Hygge’) and it has really been good to think about. Slow down. Practice hygge. It’s winter for most of us! It is the holiday season! Slow down and enjoy it. We only have so many in our lives. Enjoy every single one!

Travel, Uncategorized

Open Up Your Eyes

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I spent as much of my travels to New Zealand and Australia looking up, down, and all around me. I was searching for trees, birds, bugs, and signs. I was looking to see how different the world could be when you are about 9000 miles (14484 km) away from home. The little details matter.

This could’ve easily become a post about how we should all look up from our phones from time to time to see what’s around us, but it’s not about that. Our phones do help us: We snap photos! They give us directions! They connect us! I think that is great. This post is about how we can all look around and see things that will inspire us in some way.

The Edge at the State Library of Queensland is amazing place to look around. They describe themselves “as a model for the library of the future” and that’s exactly what they are. This is a space for the people. They’ve got all the fancy tools and technology everyone wants to get their hands on, but what most impressed me were the little details. I enjoyed seeing how organized their space was. It had that “in use and a bit chaotic” look but in a clean and professional manner. Equipment and information was labeled, organized, and easily accessible. The signage (like their Kombucha Lab sign seen above) had neat little touches like the science-y beeker. I also really enjoyed the colors of their seats, space, and cabinets. They stood out and made me feel happy to be there.

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Board books and picture books are beautiful. Show them off!

The way we show off our physical collections is also something to think about. Books are beautiful and should be shown off to the public. As a parent of two little dudes I’m more excited to find books just by looking at the covers than to dig through a shelf of picture book after picture book. If you’re asking “well how do we find the books if someone puts them on hold?” well just don’t worry about that right now. You don’t have to do that with everything you own. Show off the good stuff. You’ll find it if someone puts that item on hold.

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Loft space at the Katoomba Library. When I was there I counted 35 people using this small section of the library.

If you are reading this while you are at work, first off let me say that I am proud of you for doing that. Continuing education about libraries is not something you have to do on your own time. You should get paid for it. Read away and grow that brain.

Getting back to things….

If you are reading this while you are at work, get up from your desk and walk around the library. Look at how people are using your space. Look at what they’re doing. Did you take all of that in? Good. That’s the value your library is providing to your community at this exact moment in space and time and this is how it will grow in the future. I just saw four people using their own technology (mobile phones and tablets), one alternating between an iPhone and a book, and one looking at our DVD collection.