Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The best laid plans ...

change Just got back from a CILIP in London event on the topic "The best laid plans ...", which was essentially about not just dealing with change, but thriving on it, which is definitely relevant to me at the moment.

Ray Philips, from The King's Fund, was the speaker, telling stories about his experience leading their library through a whole raft of changes - a physical move, changing LMS, changes in management, which all sounds really familiar, now I think about it. (Two summers ago my big project was the move to a new LMS - Koha. Last summer it was the move into the new library space, and right now there's organizational re-structuring going on, and some significant staff turn over.)

It has been a remarkably affirming evening, in fact, talking with colleagues and listing to Ray, and remembering that - hang on - I am an agent of change! That's why, even though my job title hasn't changed in many years, my actual job is almost unrecognisable from when I started. The core of what I do - supporting teaching and learning - is constant, but the manifestation has changed an incredible amount. My goal is "better", through evolution, iteration, and inspiration, and change is pretty integral to all of those.

OK, so the LMS switch was change I sought, and the library move was change I was actively involved in, turning a potential negative into a positive outcome (a smaller library, but a better learning environment, plus space for more resources), whereas the current situation is more of the waiting for decisions from on high variety of change, but that doesn't automatically make it bad - and at the very least it will be different.

Change is not always positive, and even positive change can be exhausting and hard, but there are silver linings to be mined, and while there's life - and change is life - there's hope. (There, I've used my cliché allowance for the month!)

This evening's event did give me reason to pause and think about the small-scale change I'm involved in at the moment. One of our lecturers has revised his approach to his film class, and I'm supporting that by setting up a dedicated short loan dvd collection, which I've spent most of the last two days getting set up. Over the last couple of weeks I've taken several groups of students off on reflective photo walks, changing what we did and where we went each time. In the past month, I've changed how I presented at orientation, and the kind of orientation events I offered to both current cohorts of students, pulling on new ideas, and responding to the new realities and changes in the wider arrangements for those groups, and also had my LMS swap from an external hosting service to in-house support. So, in other words, change is everywhere, and in everything, and that's a good thing, because change is a pre-requisite for improvement.

I didn't come away from this evening's meeting with as many concrete new things to try out as I have from some of the other LIS things I've been to recently, but I have come away feeling energised and having had some of my core perspectives affirmed, so thank you, Ray and Team CILIP in London!

The only constant is change: let's try to make it change for the better.

* Photo by MICHALA LIPKOVÁ , used under Creative Commons, with thanks.

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