I spent today at an annual obligatory boredom…eh, training session. The speaker spent seven hours discussing the future of libraries, a monumental feat to my mind. (I can’t imagine spending seven minutes in front of a crowd). She was knowledgeable and passionate about her subject, obviously having spent quite a lot of time in research and analysis of the library environment. From suggesting that circulation desks be set up like Genius Bars to predicting that the demand for e-content will only increase, her bottom line seemed to be that libraries must be willing to consistently and constantly adapt to the ever-changing needs of the market.
Any strategist in any field will spend time assessing trends both within and without the specific environment and suggest ways to change. Instead of focusing on her suggestions, however, I found myself wondering about our self-centeredness. A theme that surfaced time and again throughout the lecture was the patrons (anyone who doesn’t work in a library) desire for one-on-one interaction. Not only should e-content be available (I shake my fist at you, Kindle!), but each librarian should be equipped to handle any e-reader with ease – meaning that the librarian, not the patron, should set up the e-reader, download the content and then show the patron how to access it.
The librarian is also to listen to and validate hopes, dreams and business ideas.
She should provide the education, via storytime and other activities, that children aren’t getting at school.
He should be willing to spend an hour helping a patron on the computer, while other tasks pile up.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
It is a delicate act, to be a public servant. Without a focus on the task, the services cannot be provided and patrons suffer. Yet if the patrons feel that they are not getting the “me time” attention, they won’t utilize the services.
We all want to have our cake and eat it to. We want wonderful experiences at all times, but we want the people providing the experiences to be totally focused on us, to the exclusion of all else (and all others). The ticket-taker at the movie theatre should move the line along because I’ve been standing here for approximately two minutes and that is two minutes too long. The teacher should not give me homework this weekend because I have other things to do. The grocery store clerk should care that I couldn’t find the “right” brand of lactose-free milk because this completely ruins my morning and, after all, the world revolves around my belly-button.
Convenient, immediate, me-centric.
That got me to thinking about attitudes toward Christianity – what does “it” provide for me? What do I get out of “it?” When I’m bored, how should “it” change? Why doesn’t the church have a tithing app? Why isn’t the pastor available any time I need him/her? Why is the music so outdated?
Needs aren’t wrong. Wants aren’t always bad. But I wonder when it became acceptable to go about our days with the belief that everyone must recognize our greatness and meet our every demand?
Grace and peace,