Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The November Meeting - and I don't know your name

The second all-cluster staff meeting occurred on November 7, 2013 at McPherson Square Neighborhood Library.

There was a fair amount of information about general FLP updates to be shared at this meeting.  I have found that by delivering as much "news" as possible to the group as a whole is appreciated by most of the staff.  It allows for questions and clarification, which tends to alleviate some tension.  (This is not a new concept, but the opportunity to make it happen has not always been realistically available in the Free Library structure.)

I did a quick poll of the group to see if anyone knew the name of every other person in the room.  None did, including me.  Therefore, we will be working hard in future meetings to get to know one another.

After a break, we worked through one of the Public Innovation exercises mentioned in the previous post.  Here are the questions and consolidated responses that comprised the discussion.

1.  What are your aspirations for your community?

1)    Safety
  No abandoned buildings
  Involvement in neighborhood clean-up
  Improve quality-of-life: jobs, etc.

2)    Interaction & Communication
  Harmony and Elder
  Parental involvement with children
  Places/activities for children/teens
  Stimulation for children

3)    “Stuff”
  Supplies in school
  Better nutrition for children
  Single directory for resources responding to needs
  Electronic services: fax, print, scan, etc. readily available
  More green space
  More open recreation centers
  More programs for children/teens/adults
  Spaces for community conversations/events

 The challenges we face in reaching these aspirations are:

1)    Money
  Insufficient staffing
  Insufficient police presence
  Unfilled job slots

2)    Lack of basic skills/tools/literacy
  Resistance to/fear of change
  Unaware of community contacts/resources
  Behavioral issues
  Treating libraries as daycare centers (lack of adults)
  Guest pass issue
  Failure of the School District/poor education
  Lack of understanding of different cultures

3)    Mental Health
  Untreatable mental illness

The changes needed in my community to reach our aspirations are:

1)    Human development
2)    Modeling behavior/commitment with neighborhood
3)    Organizing skills/conflict resolution
4)    Communication
5)    Making free transit available
6)    Fixing physical infrastructure
7)    Calmly understanding and implementing Acceptable Standards of Behavior
8)    Giving patrons a sense of being stakeholders / ownership of their library
9)    Inter-generational sack race

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