On a + note

“…So, let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.” #30: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on September 5, 2011

August 22, 2011 Canada mourned the passing of much admired politician Jack Layton (NDP Leader of the Opposition). Layton was charismatic, passionate about public service and committed to humanitarian causes not just in Toronto but, around the world. He was all about hope and courage.

In the days that followed Jack’s death, his family released an open letter, written by Layton two days before his death, in which he expressed his wishes for the nation. He concluded by saying,

“My friends, love is better than anger.

Hope is better than fear.

Optimism is better than despair.

So, let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.

And we’ll change the world.”

 It was a very sad and reflective week for Canadians but through all this sadness what did we at GPL learn about a nation grieving?

  • Everyone deals with death differently from public mourning to private grief.  There is no one or correct way to deal with loss. For library  managers it is an important lesson. We need to allow for these differences and do our best to accommodate where appropriate.
  • A grieving nation is impatient. GPL staff pulled out all the stops to respond to our customers, who wanted answers to their queries immediately. Even if they were not related to the state funeral or Layton’s life, customers were impatient last week.
  • In times of crisis, be it Layton’s funeral or Hurricane Irene, folks in Guelph turn to the public library for answers. Information Services answered 11% more questions last week. People were looking for answers.
  • Speaking “ill” of the departed wins you no friends and in-fact will come back to bit you. Several journalists were less than complimentary about Layton’s legacy and the public response was swift and ear shattering. This is the classic lesson:  if you can’t speak positively, be quiet!
  • And finally, cancer plays no favorites. It has no rhyme or reason. It has no predictable path and no understandable time line. For library managers this is another important lesson. What is appropriate for one cancer survivor any not be the case for another. Each situation is unique.

 As we pick up the pieces and get back our own lives this week Canadians feel the loss of a great leader and humanitarian but we are also encouraged by the example and sprit of Jack Layton.

He made us a better nation.


kpope@library.guelph.on.ca                                                          #29A September, 2011



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