While I’m sitting here at my desk it seems like nothing’s going on. A poor sun is shining in, and I’m feeling a bit chilly. The warm days of recently have disappeared. Surrounded by books, immersed in text and study, everything looks like ‘the old days’. And yet nothing is alike. Everything is different, everything is changing at a lightning speed.
A few months ago the Ostend Library invited me to take on a role as a ‘changemaker’. Bringing in thinking patterns and models from sectors that do not or hardly fit in with culture might inspire us to shape our own projects differently. And it really did. We struggled, but finally we managed to go through a fascinating process, while broadening personal horizons. We used business transformation models, reflected in depth about learning needs and learning goals and managed to draw a detailed and unexpected picture of the target group we had in mind. When it comes to people in dementia, we have learned to sharpen our gaze and adjust our attitudes. A learning journey to be compared to a tsunami. Be sure.
But that journey was nothing compared to this one. In the former project we had set a timetable and made agreements. Now everything strikes us at breakneck speed. We try to anticipate and implement as fast as we can. Corona is the new changemaker and a much more powerful transformer is nowhere to be found. Today I’m acting as an observer and, if possible, a facilitator and inspirer. What I’m seeing now is an enormous willingness to learn and resilience. With an unprecedented digital rush problems are rethought and work processes revised.
Yes, there is also fear. Yes, there is also restraint. But isn’t that understandable? Not everyone processes impressions quickly, and certainly not when there’s a threat. Today’s issues are about our health, about the essence of our daily actions, about new ways of living and loving. In that case hesitation is a normal reflex.
But I also register a lot of decisiveness. In operational things: the service of the library must go on. But also in collegial growth: how can we support and strengthen each other in these strange times. A lot is about digital learning, certainly. But it’s also about adopting a new attitude towards each other. About understanding and empathy. How can I support yours with my professional approach. How might we construct – again – a new concept for the library. Because that much is certain: the library is once again reinventing itself. This whole transformation is about acting accurate, recording the pulse and needs of the moment and respond to it in the most accurate way. It is all about improving skills and changing habits, reflecting the library as a place of relevance for all the challenges to come.
Extremely grateful to be part of it.
Merci MartineVanderMaes MiekeOpstaele MiaKluysse StanVanHecke NeleDeCoene HansDefer GoedroenVerduyn TiemkeGauderis JasmijnDeschacht JannickeHap