I went to the market the other day with the family and as we had a bit of time to spare before our next appointment, hubby suggested we do some ‘spelunking around the market’. This involved wandering around stalls and shop and looking for and at things we would not normally buy.
We ended up buying and trying a handful of new things. The coming weeks will determine how successful those choices were, but the ‘spelunking” around the market idea itself was a winner. The whole journey of exploration and discovery was both insightful and enjoyable.
I enjoy ‘spelunking’ with work as well. We see our libraries day after day and get used to the way things are, so it can be hard to see what could be. So whenever I visit another library, or visit a library website, I take on that task of exploration and discovery to not only see what’s there, but to also see what we could use in our library.
Much of our website development over the years has been inspired by other library websites. And every time I visit another library, its an opportunity to explore how they use their space and for what purposes, the publications they produce, their arrangements and so much more.
There is much to be learned from just exploring another library. Even if you can’t take something directly back to implement at your library, often there is something there that will inspire you, or can be adapted to work for you.
And if you can’t explore another library, then explore it through others eyes; through blog posts, journal articles, through links on Twitter, through asking questions via email, conferences and the papers they generate and so much more. Librarians are a sharing lot and I have found are always happy to share the good and the bad of their own experiences.
My next ‘spelunking’ opportunity is in a couple of weeks, with a visit to a new Melbourne public library. Where’s yours?