I’m Maggie and I’m Here

I'm HereBeing a part of the FIT Team couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  Midway through our grant, my office moved into the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center (CEC) on the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) campus.  Omaha Public Library (OPL) is one of 30 community or UNO organizations housed in the CEC.  The CEC’s purpose is to inspire and support collaborative efforts that benefit the community as a whole.  It is also “the only stand-alone, comprehensive, engagement-specific university facility in the country” according to UNO’s website. More

I Want to Be in a Meeting Like That!

I Want to Be in a Meeting Like That!When I was called downtown to talk to Theresa Jehlik I wondered what that was all about.  She inquired about my interest in becoming a member of a new FIT Team.  I thought, “Sure, I guess I’m game for anything…”  I had already attended some meetings facilitated by Cheryl Gould and Sam McBane Mulford at Omaha Public Library.  I was impressed how confident and comfortable they were in their facilitator roles.  They acted like they had known us all our lives!  These “meetings” didn’t always seem like a “meeting” in the traditional sense because they weren’t!  By using games and activities to bring people together (I mean EVERYONE, even the traditionally shy and reserved people who never spoke), everyone was thoroughly engaged and loved it.  There was a great sense of play, camaraderie, and connection that made the time fun, memorable, and productive.  My staff who attended facilitated meetings returned to the branch more energized and shared the experience!  I want to be in meetings like that!  I want to help facilitate meetings like that! More

Facilitation and Story Time

Story TimeI confess. I’m a children’s librarian. I love kids. I love how I get to be a kid around them. Although we played a lot of games, our trainings were all about adults! So I wasn’t sure how learning about facilitation would help me do my current job. More

I’m Here

I'm HereI’m here.

I can still hear Linda Trout’s voice saying “I’m here”.  This was the first facilitation training activity at the beginning of the grant project’s FIT Team.  Before I say anything else, I need to say there is no wrong way to say “I’m here”.  Some people asked it like a question: “I’m here?”  Others said it meekly: “I’m here.”  Participants were asked to stand in a circle, and when ready, step one-by-one into the circle’s center, make eye contact with everyone else, and say those two words.  Some people said “I’m here” as fast as possible and bee lined it back to their spot.  Linda actually turned around and looked at everyone in the circle.  The “I’m here” she said that morning had deep, invisible roots that held firmly to the building’s foundation.  I had no idea what was going through Linda’s mind but it felt like Linda was truly here.  Not pretending to be here.  Not wishing she was here.  Present. More

Final FIT Team Thoughts

Safe EnvironmentI had only been employed at OPL a few short months in Summer 2013.  Since my entire professional library experience had been in academic libraries, I was learning both public library work and my branch manager position.  It was overwhelming at times to learn a new job and how to facilitate community conversations.  I happily discovered the FIT Team such a source of support and camaraderie throughout this year and a half that all the ups and downs were more bearable. More

How the FIT Team Affected My Life

Being PresentWhen I first heard about the FIT Team at Staff Day 2013, I was immediately interested.  It was a chance to be part of a really exciting, unique opportunity and to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Other big selling points were the ideas that the library would facilitate discussions in the community and create a model for other libraries. More

I Carry Blue Painter’s Tape in My Bag

Blue Painter's TapeHow has the FIT Team experience helped you in your personal and professional life?

Ah, let me count the ways.

Personally

First, the ground rules had great influence in my life.  Second, I made some incredible personal connections through this experience.  Third, I learned things that have been useful in all aspects of my life.  Fourth, I connected with my kids through the games and activities we have done.

I previously wrote a few posts about how the ground rules became part of my personal life.  The one that has had, and continues to have, the most impact, is Everything is an Offer.  That attitude of gratitude and acceptance is very powerful.  I need to keep it in mind more often – especially as my kids become teenagers. More

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