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I am starting a new role on the 1st August with a secondment for up to 2 years to the role of Black Country Library Services Project Manager.  I am still acting as an Assistant Director managing the Libraries, Archives and Adult Learning division for Dudley while working out what the future for all of these services will be. It will be an interesting challenge.

One of the first tasks that I will need to do in developing the Black Country Libraries project is getting a single, joint vision which is ‘owned’ by all four authorities. This leads me to wonder what it is about a vision that makes it successful and what is the difference between a vision and a mission.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines them as:

Vision: 1. the ability to see the area that you can see from a particular position; 2. an idea or a picture in your imagination; 3. dream or similar experience, especially of a religious kind; 4. a person of great beauty or who shows the quality mentioned; or 6. the picture on a television or cinema/movie theater screen.

Mission: 1. an important official job that a person or group of people is given to do, especially when they are sent to another country; 2. a group of people doing such a job; the place where they work; 3.the work of teaching people about Christianity, especially in a foreign country; a group of people doing such work; 4. a building or group of buildings used by a Christian mission; 5. particular work that you feel it is your duty to do; 6. an important job that is done by a soldier, group of soldiers, etc; 7. a flight into space; or 8. a task or journey that is very difficult and takes a long time to complete.

Looking at these I think I am will be working to develop a vision within definitions 1 and 2, although developing one can often feel more like 3 although not always religious!

For the mission – the key definitions for what I am trying to achieve are basically 1 and 5 and I need to work against it feeling like 8.

Any thoughts from others would be gratefully received.

I have decided to have a go at writing my own blog having started reading ones that other people have been writing. I also often have conversations with myself about issues and just general thoughts, so ‘why not share this with others and see if they want to join in’ I thought – so here are my musings.

Coeliac and librarian are the two words that I use the most when identifying what I am. I have to use coeliac every time I eat if I am not at home – this was not a choice but is a medical condition. Librarian because this was my first profession and I still use it to describe myself if I am asked what I do even though I haven’t managed a library directly for many years. I am still responsible for a library service though.

I also wanted to try to post some positive thoughts about libraries as there is so much negative information about them around at the moment. This does not mean that I want to denigrate the postings of those people fighting for libraries, but just that I feel the positive things libraries, and librarians do, is lost in all of this. I have been particularly inspired having just visited the wonderful Newcastle Library for the first time.

The building is lovely, and the art work inspiring – a really good mix and a lovely advert for libraries still having a place.

I will also be writing about my experiences as a coeliac – which may not be as positive as the library posts – as this is a real identifier for me as it has an impact on any experience that includes food I am not preparing for myself. It is quite surprising how differently I react to the experiences I have as a result depending on my mood, health or stress levels.

So there it is – I hope some people find it interesting, but if not I can look back at my conversations with myself, which I can’t do when they are in my head ;0)

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