A new reality… a new beginning

Like a lot of folks out there, I’ve been not only thinking about, but also feeling the impact of the current economic crisis. Personally, I’ve started taking a hard look at a lot of the purchased conveniences (cable, pre-packaged dinners, etc) that my family has grown accustomed and have been looking for where we can scale these back or better yet do with out. Professionally, I’ve been running scenarios through my head of how libraries might be able to use this current crisis to help reinvent, revitalize and/ or realign our services with what I hear people describe more and more as the new “norm.”

The market will eventually correct itself, or so all the analysts say. But I think it’s easy to jump to the conclusion the “correct itself” means “return to normal”. Not so ... If past history reigns true, then correcting really doesn’t mean a “return to normal”. It really means a “new reality” and a “new beginning.”

Seth Godin this week has an excellent post that speaks so precisely to this new reality. As I read his thought on pivot points, I couldn’t help but think how these points applied to libraries.

When industry norms start to die, people panic. It's difficult to change when you think that you must change everything in order to succeed. Changing everything is too difficult.

Consider for a minute the pivot points available to you:

• Keep the machines in your factory, but change what they make.
• Keep your customers, but change what you sell to them.
• Keep your providers, but change the profit structure.
• Keep your industry but change where the money comes from.
• Keep your staff, but change what you do.
• Keep your mission, but change your scale.
• Keep your products, but change the way you market them.
• Keep your customers, but change how much you sell each one.

… read the full post here.

In reading Seth's post, I couldn’t help but think how it related to our current climate and economic realities facing many public libraries. At CML we have of course tighten the belt, trimmed all the fat (what little there actually was) and are watching our bottom line extremely closely. And I feel very fortunate that my current system is not anywhere near the current rock-n-a-hard place that my former system, and many others, are now facing. Still I have to think that once the economy starts to rebound, the hard realities that many organizations and businesses will be facing this year will actually create an opportunity for a “new beginning.” Those that can adjust and quickly adapt will not just survive. But once the “market corrects” they will be in the best position to thrive!

That’s where I see libraries of the future, not just surviving, but THRIVING!!! The time is now to think about what are our pivot points and readjust, realign and reinvent ourselves for a “new beginning”*

*Note: Yes, I also know that it’s not going to be easy... but is there really a choice?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think CML should be freezing pay just to ensure that we can stay near the current level of staffing/service.