On a + note

Why the old solutions won’t work this time?

Posted in on a + note by Admin on March 23, 2009

Why the old solutions won’t work this time?

When a librarian asked me this question last week…I thought I knew the answer….but then I began to think about it seriously as I walked the dog yesterday. This global recession isn’t just a decline in stocks, or a broken credit market; it is fundamentally a loss of faith in democracy and our commitment to creating a “city on a hill” as the pilgrims envisioned America. In the current economic downturn the old solutions won’t work because:

1. The economy is a set of peaks and valleys; it runs in 8-10 year cycles, however, this trough is deeper than normal. Temporary fixes will not work in this deep trough; we need to look for new long term solutions.

2. With the explosion of technology and communication networks, we are more interdependent than ever. Every decision we make in library land, affects everyone else, so if we lay off employees we affect not only the library, we also directly impact the whole community. Every $25,000 job pumps $18,000 back into the local economy. Our personal and business decisions have a much broader impact than ever before.

3. Nationally, critical decision have been consistently put off (i.e. fixing the mortgage and auto industries) and so now the crisis is not in one financial sector but rather in many! This makes recovery slower and significantly more complex, but they are being addressed and so we are on the road to recovery.

However, I believe the biggest change is a personal one; America is no longer all about the individual! A new personal renaissance is emerging that is all about self restraint and self discipline; decrying greed and excess. We are no longer tolerant of arrogant or self serving politicians/CEO’s/community leaders. Americans have been re-energized by a personal commitment to ethical behavior and personal responsibility. We are undergoing a profound personal transformation that is centered on self restraint and discipline manifested in our commitment to community service and ecology. This personal renaissance will be more powerful and wide ranging than any economic recovery or government program. This is real grass roots personal change that will empower us and change our children!!

So now, unlike any other time, it is vital that we in the library community embrace change to kick start not only the libraries survival but that of the whole economy. The decisions we make will have an unparalleled ripple effect on our community and on the country. Now, truly, is the time for bold actions and innovation not a rehashing of old solutions. We need the personal courage to embrace personal change and develop new ideas that will support a national recovery.

Kitty Pope

kpope #5 March/09

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