L.A. Times

Greetings, Team Library!

If you work with me for any length of time, you will quickly learn that I LOVE Christmas and the holiday season. I love how humanity seems to mellow, and people are less consumed with their lives. The season seems to bring out the best in people.

Of course, after the holiday rush, the focus shifts to resolutions and all those changes we will make in the new year. Yeah, right! I would rather focus on “moderation” – a much more positive approach to life and change. Pace yourself and enjoy the process. Change is not always “bad.” It’s just different, and we’re not always comfortable with what we don’t fully understand. And, changes are happening around SJCPLS right now: a new County Administrator and County Admin team, new library staff coming aboard the team, changes in processes/procedures in anticipation of a new ILS in February, changes in library operating hours in March, and just the changing demographics and expectations of our patrons. That’s a lot all at once!

I recently attended a workshop about changes and the perceived limitations to possibilities. The presenter encouraged each of us to do two things:

  • Have a “shift” in our mindset to look at our job or a situation differently.
  • Change two words in our vocabulary: “yes, and….” rather than “yes, but….”

Our first thoughts about change are to be defensive and think something won’t work. If you shift your mindset and change your response to be more positive, the change isn’t so scary and overwhelming.

Your co-workers are experiencing the same thoughts and concerns as you. We all share similar fears and stress, making positive communication much more important for the team. The word “but” kind of shuts things down. “I’d love to help you with that project, but I have no time this week.” There’s a negativity there…it just keeps us stuck.

On the other hand, “and” allows you to consider realistic choices and is more powerfully positive. “I’d love to help you with that, and I will find some time in my schedule.” See how different that sounds? With the word “and,” we tell ourselves that anything is possible. It forces us to find solutions and feels so much better in conversation. I realize this won’t work in every situation, and it’s a valuable tool to put into practice when you can. See what I did there?!?

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and look forward to ringing in the New Year with St. Johns Reads and the best Library Team anywhere! You guys rock, and I’m proud to stand beside you in service to St. Johns County and our patrons.

Debra Rhodes Gibson

Library System Director, St. Johns County Public Library System