Today I heard someone say “I hope we’re not playing with fire” in regard to making budget reduction proposals. I’m not even sure the complete context of what they were saying, but hearing this phrase in the scope of what is going on in our economic forecast gave me reason to pause. It does feel a bit like playing with fire. There seems to be something dangerous and somewhat precarious about the state we are in. I do believe that fire can purify and transform, at least symbolically. This is a way that I think about what we are going through right now. When I read Helene Blowers’ post about new beginnings I felt a like mind chiming in. I think that many of our current practices or approaches may have to burn up in the proverbial fire that has been cast. Sincere vision and dreams will be burnished, but not destroyed.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about form and structure lately. The literal form and structure our libraries take on is a strong indicator of the presence we have in the community. It says much about our community itself–a reflection of the community mind and intent, if you will. There is another type of form and structure that is not so literal. It is what holds up all that is tangible, but is seldom seen in an obvious way. You can call it our mission, vision, core values. I often like to speak about it as our “commitments.” And let me tell you, these are felt and are as real as brick and mortar. What is the structure that holds our organizations together? What is the form that we build around, that gives us some since of balance in uncertain times or when we need to remember who we really are?
The entrance to the Main Library in Boulder is a stunning glass and metal conoid that is an abstraction of the grande Flatiron Mountains that watch over the city. I find myself thinking much about this conoid and how it is a strong symbol of the structure and form that makes up community mind (aka, libraries). It is an obvious structure, reflects the familiar and yet still makes one wonder and imagine all the sky that can be seen through it. I think this is much the way the form and structure libraries and community organizations can (and often strive to) be.
Can you feel the structure you’re working and developing within? Is your structure and form still allowing room for glancing the sky beyond?