Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Resilience

Yes, it's been almost two months since I last posted.

That's because since then, as part of Jacksonville Public Library's budget-driven staff reduction and reorganization, I have been reassigned to be Library Training Coordinator.

[Insert large, shocked smiley here.]
=8-O

Given that the Library lost dozens of staff to demotions and layoffs and had to redistribute the remaining staff throughout support services and the 21 branches...and then redistributed some more when we lost more staff to retirements and resignations....


...I was initially joking that my new job was to train people how to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.

However, here is what I wrote when I was interviewed for the JPL Staff Profile for November:

Q: Why is training important to JPL staff right now?

A: Our extended JPL family has experienced several years of escalating challenge and uncertainty because of City budget cuts, staff losses, and reorganizations.

I’ve always been impressed by the readiness of JPL staff to support and back each other up, and by the resilience with which we adjust to difficult changes. Even so, I imagine that we all feel like “displaced persons” at present, survivors of a crisis which has lost us friends and broken up strong, supportive team relationships.

When most of us went through the Destination: LEADERSHIP program a few years ago, we discovered how powerful it could be to step up as individuals, to teach and coach each other, and to offer our insights and guidance to JPL.

I want JPL Training to be a vehicle for recovering the enthusiasm and sense of competency which many of us grew into at that time.

There are obviously many practical, hands-on skills which we need to learn or relearn in our new assignments.
However, the heart of what we need to do is to train each other as we go forward, to call up that sense of community and of commitment which has always enabled us to share what we know with each other—just as we do with our public customers.

Lifting each other up is what public library is about.
So far, it seems that my colleagues across the Library system are responding with the resilience I've come to expect from them. I congratulate all of them.

Library is not just a job and it's certainly not a business.

It is a calling.

Blessings,
Mike



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