Jenica Rogers – passionate librarian

Ah Jenica, where were you years ago when I needed you?

Jenica’s Roger’s keynote at the recent LIANZA conference was all about how to keep moving forward despite the odds stacked against you. Her talk was full of metaphors – climbing hills, moving through walls – accompanied by powerful imagery and sparse words on her powerpoint slides. There were times when I thought to myself that her keynote was sounding too much like something out of a self-help manual. How cynical of me. There were some real gems in what she said, some solid reminders of how to approach what you want to get done. Days later her talk is still resonating with me, and after finding it pretty much verbatim on her blog I suddenly feel the urge to print out some of the images she has there and put them around my desk.

So here are some of the things I noted from her talk:

• You are your own best weapon in the things you want to change
• Why are you fixing on an idea? What resonates for you? If you can figure out that then you have something to act on
• She talked about an actionable passion – a belief in something and a belief that it can be done. It is important to name your passion and be optimistic about it
• Important to challenge legacy processes
• You come back from conference and then you are just one person. What next?? Jenica used climbing hills as a metaphor for facing challenges. But you have to figure out which hill is worth climbing. Not all hills are worth climbing and some battles are not worth fighting. We have the power to choose what we work on.
• The secret is to approach success as you would any project. You have to plan for it, organize it, and manage it. She thinks any goal, every goal, should be project managed. You need to make a plan, draw yourself a map and then follow it. Having scripts helps to deal with unexpected.
• Build an ugly rocket to get you where you want to get to – you may not like everything you have to do to get where you want to be
• Success requires some tolerance for failure
• What’s the worst that can happen?
• We must not have fear driving us?
• Ask yourself why someone is blocking you? Can you find an ally? Find yourself a team. Sometimes finding someone to speak for us is our power.
• Build a world of professional peers – use the internet (my comment on this would be absolutely – find great people on Twitter and follow them!)
• You need to network – this is not your last job!
• Know yourself and set your priorities accordingly

Her best metaphor was left till last. It was all about farmers, and how whatever happens they never feel like they have had a good year. Extending this to librarians she said – we have been here a long time, and it’s never been a good year for libraries – get over it.


Some of this stuff I knew, some I wish I had heard years ago. I’m pleased I got to have the reminder about what’s important to help get the job done and not go crazy.

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