I’ve been working for a little more than two years as a library administrator, and am awful lot of my work of late has been planning for the future of the Clearview Library District, my workplace home.
We’re dreaming hard and big right now about what we want the future of our library community to look like. Specifically, we’re planning to build a new library.
It’s important work. Not just because you want to get the details right. (But we do.) It’s that when we’re dreaming about the spaces we want to build, and to ask the public to support, I wanna make sure we’re dreaming about the right sort of stuff.
Here’s the thing. Libraries aren’t just warehouses for books. But that’s a part of what they are. Libraries aren’t just quiet reading rooms. But that a piece of it. Libraries aren’t just civic spaces where people can gather. But they’re that, too.
Libraries are also places for events and experiences that help all folks learn and dream and wonder and hope and explore and be curious. That’s important. Essential.
Our library’s mission is to:
Cultivate curiosity. Enlighten the mind. Strengthen the community.
At the library, we’re in the business of magic and wonder. We are the stewards of the experiences visitors will tell their grandchildren about. And we are the space in the community where anyone can wonder about most anything they want to. Our library is a curiosity and serendipity engine.
My job is to help make sure these things happen for all the people who might interact with the public library, as well as to engage anyone in the district as to the fact that we’re here, we’re open, and we’re eager to be that civic curiosity and wonder space for all. And that means we have to get the building right, yes. But that’s not enough. We have to make the culture work, both for our staff as well as our patrons. It has to feel right and good and open and safe.
I used to teach high school to students who didn’t like school. Now, I help run a school that no one is required to attend. We call it the library, and the curriculum is mostly whatever you’re curious about when you walk through the door.
I take this responsibility very seriously. I’m helping, in some small way, to keep a tradition alive that’s American and right and good, in all the best ways about those words.
Magic. That’s what we do.