On your mark…

Registration is finally open for the LTG summit. I don’t know about you, but I am really excited about this meeting, for a number of reasons.

It is always nice, the transition from planning to doing.  We have set the stage , and, thanks to Jennifer Vinopal’s literature review (see her blog post), provided a space for  foundational resources with a Zotero group.

Now is the time to queue up the conversation.

Ever since Bonnie, Amy and I started brainstorming about the Summit in the late Spring of 2013, I have had great one-on-one conversations with many folks about this meeting:  What are the goals? Don’t you think you are being a bit limiting/over-reaching? How does this meeting relate to (insert reference many of the other activities here)? What do you think about the ALA Code of Conduct conversation? Is this really an issue?  I have learned a lot from these conversations, about myself, my community, and my profession.

The biggest take-away for me is that now is the time to move this conversation from the fringes to the core and that the challenge is bigger than one person, one organization, or one interest group. There is so much to talk about – there is room for everyone.

It is important that work together and share the floor.

But we need to know how to have a conversation. Or maybe – we need to remember how to be civil and brush up on our listening skills.

We have to be willing to be challenged, confused and curious. We have to have courage to be honest and admit what we don’t know.

I just finished reading a little book by Margaret Wheatley – Turning to One Another: Simple conversations to restore hope to the future. In it she talks about the power of a simple conversation and “when we begin listening to each other, and when we talk about things that matter to us, the world begins to change” (p.13).

She notes that it is not easy to have a true conversation – as we have forgotten what it means to have a conversation, sitting in meetings where everyone agrees (or the opposite where shouting and aggressive behavior chill the room). “These experiences have left us feeling hesitant to speak and frightened of each other…but a good conversation is very different from those bad meetings. It is a much older and more reliable way for humans to think together”.(p.28)

Leadership is a key principle for the summit.

For me, leadership is not to be confused with “administration”, but more along the lines of: How do I lead from where I am, by example? What do I have within my realm of influence? When I see the opportunity to change the system, will I have the courage to make the choice for positive change?

Or simply put, what can I do? For now, it is working with my friends and colleagues to create a space for a fruitful conversation about gender, technology, its implications on the library profession, and identifying ways we can lead change and progress.

As Wheatley says, “[l]arge and successful change starts with conversations among friends, not those in power. Change begins from deep inside a system, when a few people notice something they will no longer tolerate.”(p.29)

So, let’s all take a collective deep breath and dive in.

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