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Bringing Everything We Have, from Roy Tennant

Posted by Editor on March 30, 2011

Roy Tennant

March 30th, 201, in LJ

March Madness is upon us. Part of what I think about when I think about sports is who is hungrier. Who wants and needs to win the most? That matters. Perhaps that is why none of the top-seeded teams made it into the top 4. Sometimes a team can lull itself into thinking it deserves to win, since it has a good track record or whatever. But even if you deserve to win it’s no guarantee you will. You either earn it, or you don’t.

Frankly, I’d rather bet on the underdog, as they have nothing left to lose. And I have to tell you, you don’t ever want to be up against anyone who has nothing left to lose. You simply don’t.

So what does this mean for libraries? I’d say these days we need to meet our challenges with everything we have, as if we have nothing left to lose.  What does this mean in real terms? It means thinking imaginatively about how to meet the needs of your community in perhaps new and even surprising ways.  It means not doing some things we’re doing now which really don’t matter that much to end users (gore that sacred cow!). It means getting rid of the staff who are just hanging on and hiring excited, engaged, and energetic professionals (and don’t get me wrong, this is not an age thing, and yes, I know how difficult and time-consuming this process can be for most institutions).

You can make your own list. But the key is to meet our challenges and seize our opportunities as if our very professional lives depended on it. Because increasingly, they do.

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