Thanks to Dan Blank’s article “Want to Grow Your Writing Career? Stop Looking for Balance” on Friday April 1, 2011, in We Grow Media Newsletter*, I choose to no longer stress over balance. As Dan writes:
“To build a successful business, we often look for balance….But few things of great importance are done in a balanced way. Instead, they require vision, sacrifice, and boldness.”
Building a great school library program is the same way. Some people will tell you that you must find balance and that you cannot be everything to everyone. Yes, I agree that we cannot be all. Still, it’s time to face reality. If we only work 8-4 or 9-5, we are not going to create the exciting dynamic programs that our students want and need.
Education happens 24/7 for our students. Parents are the first teachers. Schools attempt to instill knowledge and values to the masses. Innovative librarians can develop resources to help bridge gaps between the core knowledge for all and the individual interests of life-long learners. We can establish frameworks that meet those 24/7 needs.
Sometimes this means we are reading blogs, wikis, tweets, and nings into the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes this means we are in late-night webinars and elluminate sessions. Sometimes we even have to become visible and online on facebook knowing that a student might have a late-night question. That might mean we sacrifice a little free time and sleep during the school year.
More difficult for me is that sometimes we have to risk conflict and be bold knowing that our actions may make some people unhappy. Even when these actions are necessary to advance and improve the entire program, conflict is unsettling and throws you off-balance. We must boldly face our constituents and do the best thing, not always the easy thing.
If we have a vision and are willing to take the risks, we can take our programs farther. If you see me wobbling, just know that I’m less concerned with balancing and more concerned with advancing our field. What will you do?
*We Grow Media newsletter is “sent around once a week and features news about how the internet & digital media are reshaping publishing and media.” If you would like to subscribe click here, visit WeGrowMedia.com and/or email Dan Blank.