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What are you thinking?

Notes from Anythink's director

We recently had Sunday supper with my son and his family. Before dinner began, they introduced a new tradition. Each week, a member of the family would be the recipient of the family trophy. The first to win the trophy was my 9-year-old grandson. He had demonstrated two key values: teamwork and health. I asked him how it felt to be the first to win the values award. “Good,” he said. “It feels good.”

Captivated by this idea, we talked about this new strategy that they were implementing in conjunction with a program at their local elementary school. Together, the family decided on five shared values: teamwork, respect, honesty, health and fun. They were beginning to shape their decisions, projects and discipline around these values instead of having lists of rules.

I was fascinated listening to their plan. They were building a family culture. Everyone participated in deciding on the values, and each person has a vested ownership in attending to these values. Anchoring culture to values gives everyone a chance to make informed choices.

This resonates with the culture of Anythink. Over the years, our decision making is guided directly by our values. Anythinkers have compassion for our customers and each other. You can feel this in the way our staff interacts with the community every day. We are eager to learn and are always looking for ways to support learning in our community and within our organization. We are passionate about our product.We encourage people to read books, listen to music, watch videos and experience the art and culture of our community.

We believe everyone is creative. Our programs encourage people to use their imagination to help solve a problem or create something from scratch. This might be a poem, a garden, a special meal, a video, slideshow or piece of music. Creativity requires practice, and the library is a lab for learning or testing out new ways of thinking.

Anythinkers are optimistic by nature. When something goes awry, the team looks for ways to solve the problem, to make things right. When you pair optimism with tenacity and grit, you have a team that can accomplish anything.

Over the past year, we have been gathering feedback from our community. We have been listening to what people value most: safety, a sense of community, neighborhoods that have a center, a main street, learning opportunities, cultural venues, a place to invent a future. As we make decisions about the focus of our work over the next years, we are inspired by the aspirations of our community. The values of our community are closely synced with the values of our library. These values will guide our decisions as we develop our next strategic plan. I believe our future is filled with opportunity. That is because at Anythink, not only are we optimistic; we believe anything is possible. ■

– Pam Sandlian Smith, Anythink Director

Send your questions or feedback to ithink@anythinklibraries.org or post in the comments below.