I went to the LIBRIS conference last week and met with fellow members of the SCLA GLBT Round Table. It was the first time meeting them in person. Through virtual meetings I would type in the chat, listen to the conversation, and do due diligence to participate. However, it still felt like a stalling moment, where you want to gain ground and move forward, but you don’t.
And I was okay with that.
I’m someone prone to commit to everything and then doubt that I can come through, flake out, or get through with a destroyed inner confidence.
Going to the conference got me out of the comfortable, no-grow zone. It’s not that I’m not skilled at connecting, socializing, or talking. It’s just I tend to be very afraid of initiating the interaction. Thankfully my group members are accepting, patient, and inclusive. Everyone is focused on a central goal which drives us to be better people to our patrons, communities, and each other.
Before the conference, I didn’t know where I was going as a librarian. I knew that I wanted to increase the quality of services to LGBTQ library patrons, teach all staff best terminology and customer service practices, and evaluate existing policies and procedures in order to improve services from the root up. I knew this, but wasn’t sure how to start.
After the conference? I am partnering with fellow RT members to present at a state library diversity exchange. I will be a part of our SCLA conference presentation and panel discussion. I’ve had a conversation with employees about what I am doing, where I am going, and have received buy in from them. Our library is starting a Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee that I have asked to be a part of.
So what changed? It can be difficult to take on change alone. The common thread between blogs, articles, podcasts, books, and webinars about change is to find support. Find people who can help you, have common ideals, or can keep you accountable.
I grew up thinking that I had to get something perfect the first time for it to matter. This mentality kept me from trying new things and meeting new people. What I’ve learned is that you have to fail to learn. I guess you could reword that to say what I failed to learn is that you have to fail to learn. Are your eyes crossed yet?
Moving forward, I’m going to keep trying with at least one clear goal, intention, or direction in mind. I won’t aim for perfect. I’ll be more honest with people about my doubts, concerns, and hesitations. Together we can build ourselves up, protect the weak spots, and move, move, move forward.