The meaning of worms and other big questions.
Before breakfast on day one, R2 was already the best conference I'd ever been to. I have never been in a group so excited about the speakers and presentations on the conference schedule. But, I've also never been to a conference that valued participants' creativity and ideas and created a collaborative culture between presenters and participants.
As a member of the culture experience (Team Aquabutts for LIFE!) I knew I would be challenged to climb, jump, roll around, and get my hands dirty. I did not realize that I would actually get my hands dirty by sticking them into a tank full of worms (so gross). Today our team took calculated risks. We all did things that scared us. We did things we didn't think we could do, and we cheered and supported each other the whole time.
This evening, after the challenges were done, dinner was consumed, and the first two rounds of happy hour were well past us, a few of my teammates and I were talking about our amazing experience. It included the highlights you've probably heard by now. Yes, we held snakes. Yes, we ran through an inflatible obstacle course. And yes, we were the reason there was duct tape on the patio. Those are the easy stories to tell. Those are the things you don't expect at a library conference, but on the way back to the gondola after the after party, a new friend channelled the boy who saw the emporer wasn't wearing any clothes and asked me what it all meant. How does this relate to real life in our home libraries, and THERE is our real challenge. We thought that moving a marble through a maze or getting those darn discs to go through the chains were the challenge, but really it's up to us to take home the lessons, not just the anecdotes, and make positive change in our libraries. Our seemingly silly tasks forced us to learn new ways of communication, required us to blindly follow the directions of a near-stranger, and beat down our bodies, but not our hearts. We can and will take the strength and confidence we gained from this experience, we know that successful collaborations are possible because we were part of an extremely powerful one, and we know that we can do what we didn't think we could. This is what we learned while holding snakes, and this is how we'll change the world.
I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.