I have been reading a book,"Well and good: how we feel and why it matters" byAustralian health researcher Richard Eckersley, and his discussion of the correlation between positive feelings of "belonging" and happiness/wellbeing. This started the chain of thought about how "connected" I felt when I attended our local arts festival
this weekend, as a volunteer and as a participant. Here we were, this little community of a couple of thousand people who had decided to join together in this artificial "village" for three days in an atmosphere of mutual fun but also of respect and goodwill - when I was on the gate on the Saturday night nearly everyone was leaving with a smile and a word of how great the day had been/how great they felt. Then I got to thinking about how you could replicate that feeling of belonging in the "library" community. And I got to realizing that we have a natural head start - by definition library members "belong" to the library - so it's about investing that word with more - how could I phrase this without sounding like a hippy (I did eat a lot of Hare Krishna food and listen to a lot of Indian spiritual music over the weekend so the effects may still be lingering) - "spirit"? "being there"? "authenticity"?. And then I was reminded of something I think I read on one of the blogs (buggered if I can remember where I heard it actually) that more or less said that the local library has nothing to fear from Google because of just that - the local library is
local in a way that Google can never be. Which is why I and the staff get such a kick out of helping a library member find/discover/locate/ that special personalized book/novel/website/bit of information that can never be replicated by a machine (well not in my lifetime anyway). There must be such huge potential to build on our community's need for belonging...
And BTW, I felt moved to thank the Hare Krishna guys for nourishing me all weekend (their food is so good I couldn't be tempted away by any other food stalls), and they thanked me (I felt sincerely) for my presence. Not that I'm at all religious, and not even a vegetarian, but that
is a group of people who really understand the meaning of being authentic as per the "Fish" principle I posted about from the Conference - "Have fun, Make their day, Be there
, Choose your attitude".