January 1st is about to come once again. While we look forward to a new year and a new federal administration, is anything ever really new? Or is the best we can do to use the ideas we have in different ways, or to partner different sets of ideas in other patterns.

 I was amused by a 3 minute Ad Age YouTube showing Brian Williams as the MC of the Ad Council Public Service Awards. In it Williams quoted someone in the NBC news team who pitched something billed as “NetFlix for Books”  — you just put in your order for a book, and a book that was previously read by someone else will arrive for you. Williams quipped “you know, we have libraries.” He goes on to eschew other technological so-called innovations that are really retreads of something previously introduced as new.

Walking into my neighborhood WalMart, I noticed a box of books on the floor of the entryway. A school group has implemented a book loan program. According to the sign, you take the books you want, return them wherever you find one of the program boxes, or donate if you wish. Hmm, to (again) quote Brian Williams, “you know, we have libraries.”

Some things can have existed forever, but until someone discovers them for themselves, they don’t become reality.

All this reminds me of the Ecclesiastes, a book of truths attributed to Solomon: (9) That which has been is what will be,  That which is done is what will be done,  And there is nothing new under the sun. (10) Is there anything of which it may be said,  “ See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. (11) There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come  By those who will come after.

Energy of change

Is change energizing or draining? Depends on how you look at it. I’m usually energized by change. Sure it’s tiring, but it’s a good tired. It’s been over 2 months since I made an employment change and moved 100 miles up the highway. While I was far from burned out in my former job, I find every day a new and exciting adventure. I actually get up and can’t wait to get to work. Yup! For me, change is invigorating.

Sort of like re-arranging the furniture in your house. Some people never move a chair. Others move the couches so often that you’d better check behind before you sit down, lest it has moved across the room. I’m sort of in between (partly because my house doesn’t give me a lot of options). And when you do sit down, and the couch is facing north instead of south, you get a whole new view of the room. You see things differently when the light shines on you from a different angle.

Had an inspiring change moment yesterday when I invited a small staff team to vision how we might re-arrange the public area of the library. First we gathered around a table, and soon we were walking around the library. Before I knew it, the team was so excited that they couldn’t wait to accomplish even some small change that would feel like progress. They moved chairs and tables. Then we came downstairs and dug through closets finding magazine shelving for a revamped teen area. We’ll have to wait for moves that involve electrical cords and Cat 5 cable, but we’re on our way. Even today, people are pouring over sketches and diagrams What fun!