Last year Alamance County Public Library staff read Choosing Civility: the Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni. At our annual staff development day in September, we voted on the 25 practices Mr. Forni discusses to choose 10 that we felt best applied to our perception of how we want our organization to operate. The practice that got the most votes, hands down, was “Think the Best”. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? And usually, I have no problem being positive and upbeat. But here we are, in the middle of cold, dreary weather, preparing requests for next fiscal year’s budget. Staff is overworked, covering for frozen positions and losses to other counties that can pay more, patrons are frustrated at long waits for best-selling titles, slow public computers, and the lack of eBook titles. Quite honestly, I’m tired, frustrated, disheartened and sad.And here’s why I’m so sad and disheartened. I believe that Alamance County Public Libraries have the very best staff in this state. I believe we have the potential to be one of the very best library systems in the state. We have many talented and creative people who are ready and willing to give all they can to ensure excellent customer service to the public. They are constantly coming up with ideas for ways to better serve the citizens of this county. The creativity on this staff is truly exciting. Our staff has many ideas for programs they want to try. I honestly believe that, with their creativity and talent, we could build one of the best library systems around. But we are all tired and there’s just not enough money to do the things we want to do. We do well just to keep the service desks covered, let alone provide new and innovative programs and services.I see how hard library staff works to ensure that the citizens of Alamance County have the best possible service. I see the time and energy that go into planning and presenting programs that will spark people’s interest. I see the patience of staff as they are confronted with being asked to do more. I see staff trying hard not to let on how difficult it is to remain positive and upbeat in the face of the current economic environment. I see the disappointment when they are not recognized for their dedication and loyalty. While a raise would be nice, just acknowledging their hard work and their dedication to serving the people of Alamance County would also go a long way. Next time you are at the library, thank a staff member for their hard work and let them know how much you appreciate what they do.So, I am going to work hard to “Think the Best”. I will encourage my staff to continue to come up with ideas, to brainstorm on ways we can better serve you. I will not let a single week go by without letting my staff know how wonderful I think they are. One day we will be able to put all that creativity and vision into practice. One day we will be able to make Alamance County Public Libraries the crown jewel of library systems. I hope you will join me in thinking the best of our libraries and our library staff.
February 26, 2013
What I am reading: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Change Anything: the New Science of Personal Success by Al Switzler. What I am listening to: The Big Burn by Tim Egan