Thursday, November 10, 2016

FCPLEA Statement to Library Board, November 9, 2016

Deb Smith-Cohen
Fairfax County Public Library Employee Association President
Statement to Library Board of Trustees
November 9, 2016

I’m back from vacation and thinking about Thanksgiving later this month.  It is inevitably a time for
gratitude, re-connection, and shared aspirations.  What are we thankful for?

·    We are thankful for our colleagues who can bring out the best in us, model the skills and behaviors we aspire to, teach us new strengths, point us to new opportunities, and change our minds and our hearts.
·    We are thankful for our patrons whose enthusiasm feeds our own, whose needs demand our commitment and courage, whose questions make us stretch, and whose support makes our days inestimably more meaningful.
·    We are thankful for our County leadership which can validate our aspirations with the policies, investments, and real commitments that ensure progress in meeting goals and exceeding expectations.
·    We are grateful for our families who inspire our ambitions and nurture our effectiveness.

What do we need to build the wholehearted engagement and creative performance necessary for both short-term and long-term success?  How can we model the courage we look for in others and move beyond narrowly safe” efforts to shape the larger success that could be our own and our county’s future reality?

How can WE change to embrace a culture of Yes” in a budget reality that is stagnant and so break out of that constraint?  How do we get to a space where we all imagine improved outcomes that could inspire, but are not premised on, more funds?  How do we develop a shared message that promotes and advances our value in the experience of all our patrons?

We need to challenge all proposals to do more with less” based on staffing efficiencies -- UNTIL we significantly increase investment in:

·    broadly expanded training on management skills, service skills, technical skills, planning skills, and coaching skills,
·    improvements in both customer-facing and staff-facing technology, and
·    a tolerant culture of innovation, experimentation, and candid community engagement.  

Finally, I wish you good eats, good company, and good times as we all celebrate what we have to be grateful for and what we can share when we work together.

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