I’m at the 2nd day of OLA’s Institute on the Library as Place, listening to Lisa Miettinen, CEO Oxford County Library and Joyce Cunningham, Chair Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre Board. Both have extensive experience with public library building projects, overseeing renos and new builds in small communities. Their common theme is the importance of the dream. Lisa is speaking of the CEO’s role to “inspire; to keep library successes and the good ideas coming that are coming forward at the forefront” — keep the ideas and positive messages in front of the Board, staff, Friends of the Library, Council and the community.  Joyce is talking about giving everyone a sense of ownership over the public library, especially the fund-raising, and to make it fun.  Partnering with other groups has challenges, but it ups the interest and the momentum.  Flexibility, knowing when its time to be firm, and being ready with information any time, any where.  “When the whole town walks in the door and says ‘this is our library’ that’s success.”  

So any nay sayers out there moaning that the reno or new build required on their campus or in their community will NEVER HAPPEN……. look to the success of Fort Frances, Thamesford and Norwich. These are tiny communities with severe economic challenges.  They dreamed, they put the action into realizing those dreams, and they succeeded.  So why can’t you?