RIPL Community of Practice
6 Month Check-In - Printable Version

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6 Month Check-In - LindaHofschire - 01-28-2019

It has been six months since we were together in Atlanta, and within the next week or so, you should receive the letter you wrote yourself during George's closing keynote.

What has happened in the past six months? Were you able to complete some of the action items you identified in your letter? Have you made any progress with your evaluation project? If not, what are the barriers that have gotten in the way? 

Give us an update about your successes, challenges, and lessons learned!


RE: 6 Month Check-In - Gizelle Guyette - 01-29-2019

(01-28-2019, 10:46 PM)LindaHofschire Wrote: It has been six months since we were together in Atlanta, and within the next week or so, you should receive the letter you wrote yourself during George's closing keynote.

What has happened in the past six months? Were you able to complete some of the action items you identified in your letter? Have you made any progress with your evaluation project? If not, what are the barriers that have gotten in the way? 

Give us an update about your successes, challenges, and lessons learned!

We Vermont RIPL attendees have met once this past fall, and are planning to meet again this coming Thursday (postponed from earlier due to Vermont's extra helping of winter weather).  We will be submitting a proposal for a presentation at one or both conferences to be held in our state this year, and look forward to sharing what we have learned at the RIPL 2018  Symposium with our colleagues around the region.

Speaking as one of countless directors running a small public library, I will reiterate what I said then:  that our jobs leave little time for reflection.  It was one of the many reasons I wanted to attend RIPL this past summer:  the day-to-day tasks, the long-term work, satisfying member needs and requests, staffing issues, trustee and Friend concerns, IT meltdowns, bills to pay, reports due, challenges in working with a diverse public, community events, building crises and all the other attendant issues make pausing to look at the "meta", and rethinking one's marketing and service models, nearly impossible.  Reflection on where we are going and if we are on the right track just hadn't figured into my thoughts in quite some time.  And it needs to be part of my overall plan for this valuable community institution.  This is why the RIPL conference was so important. 

In the ensuing months, the pace here has not slowed.  At my community's library, we continue to experience building and IT challenges; we've gotten busier; it's currently flu season, so a staff illness can mean a week's worth of catch-up after hours.  Just when I think there will be a lull, we may have a member with a mental health crisis requiring police/health service intervention, or an unintentional indoor pool (someone pulled the rest room sink partially out of the wall and ruptured a pipe recently, causing a flood across the main lobby entrance).  It never ends--it's always something.  And it always will be.  More than ever, I realize the importance of stepping out of the daily worries which can easily overwhelm, and meeting with our RIPL cohort to look at the bigger picture.

I have not yet done the survey I was planning to whip up the moment I returned, and our beleaguered website is still under construction, but RIPL has had its effect.  The Town Report and Appeal Letter, rather than being purely anecdotal dense paragraphs, was revised this year to include community-centered language, lots of white space, small nuggets of information, bullet point statistics proving our growth--all due to the conference and what I learned there.  I gave presentations and made RIPL materials available to my co-workers and the board of trustees.  I wrote about the experience in the local paper.  My RIPL colleagues and I are meeting to craft what we hope will be a meaningful workshop introducing the marketing and service model concepts we learned this summer.  Our Friends group conducted an informal survey at an October event, and I am preparing one for Town Meeting.  We have begun to reach out to some local businesses and partner agencies.  We as a staff have agreed to be an AED site for the Heart Safe Community drive and just had an AED training led by a nurse/EMT.  We have asked the Police Department to conduct emergency preparedness training.  We have expanded our outreach to seniors, and have just been granted more money from the trust which has funded our senior programs.  Once we work out some staffing issues, I will begin attending Rotary meetings.  We re-joined the countywide Chamber of Commerce, and I see the need to become more active in it, and in other community organizations.  If I extend myself beyond the library's walls, some of the community stakeholders will be more likely to meet us halfway.  

RIPL's impact will continue to manifest itself and expand its influence for years.  I am grateful for the experience.  Thank you.