Welcome, PLA

The Public Library Association is holding its biennial conference in Minneapolis this week. Two years ago, when we were in Boston for the 2006 conference, all the southern librarians were in a panic when they learned that the 2008 meeting would be in frigid Minneapolis. Minnesota librarians assured them that late March is spring in our state — no need to worry that you don’t have warm enough coats. Well sorry . . . we lied . . . but not on purpose. But please, enjoy our warm hospitality and skyways!

I am a little disappointed in the media welcome though. Not much news coverage, and the online KARE 11 story shows that the reporter is not familiar with libraries like the ones in the small towns I’ve worked with. The report begins: “Once the backbone of communities, public libraries have slowly lost their place at the forefront. However, thousands of librarians are in Minneapolis this week to make sure their not forgotten.”

Well, I beg to differ. Many libraries are part of the backbone infrastructure that supports their communities. And furthermore, the PLA meeting is more than a rally to raise library popularity. And I won’t even comment on the writer’s deficit in literacy skills, demonstrated in his lack of discernment between their and they’re.

Anyway, welcome, library colleagues! We’re glad you’re here for another inspiring PLA Conference.

Be nice

Received a reminder from the universe this morning . . . that a little goodwill goes a long ways to diffusing short tempers. I went on Flickr, and saw this error message screen. Delivering bad news with a bit of a smile goes a long ways towards good customer service. I wrote about this about 18 months ago, following the receipt of a similar message from Blogger. It bears repeating — when we have something to say (whether it’s on the circ desk or online) that has the potential to be disappointing, do it with good humor. And promise (as Flickr does) that “we’re looking into the problem right now.”

Flickr error screen 26 March 2008, Hold your clicks a moment please. Flickr has the hiccips. We’re looking into the problem right now.
Flickr error

Doing and loving

Whenever some idea crosses my path more than once in a short time, I stop and take notice. I’m not sure if something or someone is sending me a message, or if it’s a lesson of the universe that I’m just now ready to learn.

At any rate, such is the case this week that I’m getting a message not from a deep philosophical or theological source, but from sports. Watching the high school hockey tournament tonight (doesn’t everyone in Minnesota watch high school hockey in March?), a coach talked about recruiting players. He said he looks for kids who “love the game.”

I’ve heard the same words a number of times the last couple of days, as sportscasters and the green and gold faithful eulogized the career of Packer quarterback Brett Favre*** following his retirement announcement. While he certainly broke almost all the records, and arguably may be the best quarterback ever, what everyone says most is that he had fun. And his fans had fun with him.

Many people have said (in various way) – “do what you love and love what you do.” It certainly makes getting up in the morning a lot more fun, when I can’t wait to get to work (well, at least most days, unless it’s double digits below zero). I have way too many acquaintances and even friends who are on the retirement countdown. They have no joy or love for what they’re spending the majority of their waking hours doing. How sad!

Thanks for the memories, Brett!

**By the way, thanks to my staff for the sympathy card — it’s been a rough time for us cheeseheads.