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my awesome group

Group projects can be challenging when there’s conflict, or when only a few members are willing to pull their weight. Thank goodness there was no such unpleasantness this weekend. I loved my amazing group for the 601 “Here’s my problem and I solved it” project. Carolyn, Mike, Penny, and Steve (listed alphabetically, in true librarian fashion) made the experience exhilarating. I’m often frustrated when I serve on committees where there’s resistance to true innovation and change.  Our group was so dedicated to the task. I liked  working on the Troy Library problem because it’s a real problem affecting real people, and we collectively came up with creative ways to solve the problem–and some of those solutions had a simple elegance to them that I find appealing. (By simply adding a drive-up drop box, Troy Library’s problems could be partially solved–so inexpensively.) We ought to visit Troy as a group to pitch our solutions to the library director and board (and to ADM, with whom we could partner to patent our design!).

I found it a little disorienting–but also very interesting–to be working with people outside of my profession. We all had different skills and approaches to bring to the table, which eliminated the kind of cripplingly myopia so unfortunately common in the (literally) departmentalized world in which I currently work–and perhaps common in the worlds in which we all work.

My group took on an authentic, complex problem and literally solved it overnight. And we were all impressed with each other’s skills and abilities. Steve set up an organizational scheme on our white board and had us almost immediately mapping out a visual plan for our presentation. Carolyn accessed data, answered clarifying questions, and brought in suggestions we might not have otherwise considered. Mike was a technical wizard, impressing all of us with his ability to translate our words and ideas into a stunning visual display. Penny served the role I so appreciate in groups: she asked the “but” and “what if” questions necessary to test the validity of an argument. She and Steve were great at helping us focus, tweak, and edit out the superfluous material. And all members were wryly funny in a way that showcases canny intelligence (and makes a tough deadline bearable).

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