Session 2: Share your mantra

Take a look at the PLIX facilitation mantra deck. Which mantra cards resonate with you?

If you have your own mantras or affirmations, we would love for you to share them with us!

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Hi @kirchhoffd Debbie! :wave:

Thank you for sharing your mantras. I love your leafy pattern background. Is that your desk?

I had some origami paper on my desk and I thought it would make a lovely background! :grin:

And you’re absolutely right!

(I’m planning the Beautiful Symmetry workshop for next week, and I love how it has an organic difficult-to-pinpoint pattern.)

I registered for that workshop this morning, looking forward to it!

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I was going for what I need to work on as a facilitator…and these jumped out at me as that AND as things I need to work on personally!

As an aside, I’m doing the Paper Circuits project this month at my two branches, and then the following months, my team members are doing them at their branches. This makes these cards all the more relevant and important to what I need to work on in order to become a better facilitator, team member, and person.

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Hi @spiccino Stefanie—Yes! It’s nice to have little card reminders to remind ourselves to be better people. If you have other personal mantras, please do share. Self-improvement is also a journey to celebrate. :person_in_lotus_position:t4:

I’m glad to hear you’ll be doing the paper circuits project in your library branches. Check out the Paper Circuits category (looks like you already have!) in the forum for resources, examples, and reflections from other librarians. It’s definitely one of those activities that feels very technical and difficult to jump into for many patrons.

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Thanks, @ada! I’ve tested it four times so far: two with my team, and once with each of my branches’ staff (all adults). You’re right, people do feel somewhat intimidated when they see the craft and think, “Oh I can’t do this” or “I’m not good with things like this”. But every single time, their circuits lit up…and staff was so proud!

Bringing it back to the mantra: going through the cards I found a lot that I could identify with, like “hands off the tools” and “use inclusive language”. Though they didn’t jump out like the three I chose, I still felt I can use them in some capacity.

I eventually settled on my three by breaking them down into “this fits me”, “this fits facilitation”, and “this fits both”.

I’m bringing this activity to my team with the hopes it’ll help them, too! (And I can’t wait to report back with how Paper Circuits goes at my branches and systemwide.)

I like…

I frame prompts to open up possibilities.
I make a safe space for taking risks and learning from failure.
I don’t need to be the only person in the room with answers.

(I like them all, really.)

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I cut these out and put them on a notebook before a program I lead last week. I focused on “model curiosity and confidence” during the program and I found it very useful. Whereas in the past I might have shrugged off my own examples as ugly or silly, I really tried to embrace my own creations and give them the same respect I would give something a patron made. I want to model how to take pride in things we make.

After the program I did some reflecting on “I don’t need to be the only person in the room with answers.” This is something I’d like to work more on. I think being in a public library I’m so used to people coming to me with questions and then me going on a mission to solve their problem. I want patrons to feel just as comfortable asking their peers for help as they would ask me, and also to learn to trust each other’s ideas. I definitely need to get used to talking less during programs…

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Thank you for sharing your reflections Joe! I appreciate all the thoughtful explorations and examples you’ve created for Spatial Poetry. It’s really nice to see you think through them. :brain::zap:

You can also combine the two and model searching for the answers together with your patrons.

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the ones that most jumped out were…
‘I model curiosity and confidence’ - I’m always curious, but consistently modelling the confidence part is something I need to work on. It dips a lot!
‘I give myself time to grow’ - I’m extremely impatient with myself and get frustrated because of it. Basically I don’t remember to treat myself as kindly as I would a workshop participant/learner
‘I don’t need to be the only person in the room with answers’ - worked as an IT analyst for long time, so was used to being there to fix things/look into problems and come up with solutions for others. So I sometimes slip into that ‘role’ without realising

Found this really useful to think more about and will definitely reflect more on this as I facilitate in future :pray:

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I listed my 3 favorite mantras and the 3 mantras I would live to work on. I think that I already . . .

  • go out of my way to create a respectful and inviting learning environment
  • praise effort
  • don’t need to be the only person in the room with answers

I would like to improve . . .

  • adapting to new situations and being open to changing plans when needed
  • imagining a bunch of different outcomes, not just one end goal
  • giving off energry and joy
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Thanks for sharing, @Trisha! I think one of the best ways to improve on the “giving off energy and joy” mantra is by finding activities that excite you. When you work on projects that bring you joy, it makes it much easier to share that energy and excitement with your patrons!

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I would really like to work on “I adapt to new situations. I am open to changing plans when needed”.
I think that once I have a plan in my head there is no deviating from it. I would love to figure how how to be more flexible especially if there’s a hiccup during a program.

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Hi @Caroline ! It can be hard to transition to open-ended creative activities, for both librarians and patrons. As a start, you can try to make a plan B, a plan C, or even a plan OMG :scream: ! Give yourself some time to let your mind relax and wander around the different possibilities.

(Session 6 has a fun activity to help you imagine and prepare for different patron personas.)

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Hi all, I’m choosing “I keep my hands off the tools” not because I have a problem with that – I don’t! BUT – we have a regular volunteer at the library, an 81 year old woman who was a teacher for many years and is now dealing with Alzheimers. She loves to come to the library and do projects with the kids - and the kids love her too. But I’ve noticed that she increasingly gets frustrated and says “oh just do it this way,” and keeping this mantra in mind will help me better facilitate all of our programs, no matter who else is involved. (And as a side note, I’ve come close to asking her not to come back so many times – but she absolutely loves it, and I think it helps keep her engaged with the community, and… and… and… I just can’t say no.)

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The mantas I picked out to work on are “I document and share my creative process” and “I don’t need to be the only person in the room with answers.” I enjoy making example projects ahead of time, but I don’t often take the time to make notes or take pictures of the steps I take, or the challenges I have, along the way. I am taping that mantra next to my monitor to help me remember. And, at my library, I find that I am often the tech guru who is relied on to help with computer questions. While I try, when there is time and the problem isn’t critical, to talk and walk staff and patrons to find the resolution they need, I am used to being the person with the answers. I will use this mantra to remind myself that it’s okay and in fact ideal to NOT be the only person who can help. In college I remember being told that the job of a tutor is to become obsolete.

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I also really like that mantra and say it to myself often during programs! It is a really natural thing to want to demonstrate something in a hands-on way. It might seem more helpful to show someone by just doing it yourself. It can be tricky and kind of stupefying to verbally walk someone through how to solve a problem. But, as you probably have figured out, all parties benefit when you take the time to ask more questions and talk through ideas together instead of take it over for them.

That’s a tricky situation with your volunteer… You might also consider the facilitation tip “Give yourself time to grow.” It takes everyone time and practice to get better at these skills. It starts with a little awareness and patience with yourself and others.

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