Saturday, July 07, 2007

Disc Golf and Librarianship

What does disc golf have to do with librarianship? I was thinking that today as I was out at Shillito Park. Every weekend, that's where you'll usually find me unless it's raining or unusually hot (and today was pretty close to being too hot). If the weather's good enough, we'll head to another course in the area.

For the uninitiated, disc golf is much like "ball and stick" golf, as we like to call it. You drive, putt, and approach to a hole, in this case, to a basket. Courses typically include 18 holes, and you try to keep your score as low as possible. That's where perfectionism comes in. "I've got to shoot at least a 54 or it won't be as good as last week's game." "I always shoot a two on the first hole. If I don't shoot a two there, I might as well go home." "If I drive to the left of that tree, there's no way I can par this hole. I've completely ruined this hole!" And on and on.

We do the same thing in our libraries sometimes. "We can't start blogging/IMing/Facebooking/ (fill in the blank-ing) until we have a comprehensive written policy in place." "We can't go live with this website/brochure/PowerPoint/(fill in the blank) until we have the right logo, the right graphics, the right colors, the right look and feel." And on and on.

Like my golf game, sometimes we are victims of perfectionism. We want things to be just right. If they aren't just right, we don't want to do them. I admit to that myself. Much of the time, I want things to be just right before I do them. Why did it take me over two years to start blogging? -- "What's the right name for my blog? The right color scheme? The right focus?" Ah, perfectionism.

At some point you've just got to set aside those concerns and move forward. Thankfully we can be pretty good about that at my library. Last summer, a colleague and I asked about creating a Facebook presence for our library. We got the green light almost immediately. No policy, no committee, no deliberating and fretting. We just did it. (Granted, we ended up being one of the first institutional profiles to be shut down, but at least we gave it a shot).

My point is simply: sometimes it really does not pay to be a perfectionist. Yeah, I may not two the first hole. Yeah, maybe the black background looks better than the white background I used on the PowerPoint. I may still end up with a good score at the end of the day. I may still engage a group of students with my presentation and teach them a few things.

Sometimes you've just got to set perfectionism aside.

Now I'm ready to get back out to Shillito tomorrow.

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