For the past ten plus years my local library has been planning a renovation and addition to its current building. It is woefully small and cramped and crowded. In spite of that it provides such an incredible service to the residents in the town and always has. The planned expansion has spanned the terms of many Boards and has had its share of ups and downs. And there are still hurdles to overcome. I should know – I am the current President. As of this moment in time we have the architect, all the town approvals, and over 80% of the funds have been raised. This Friday at the Library’s Annual Meeting, we will be updating our membership on the status of this proposed expansion – and for the occasion – we created a photographic video which shows the progression of the library from 1926 and concludes with a walk-through of the new building. It is very exciting.
As I previewed the video, I was struck by the library’s history and the thread that weaves together past, current and future generations. The original library was built because of “fundraising, some very generous contributions and the efforts of many.” Today, the new library will be built because of fundraising, some very generous contributions and the efforts of many. In so many ways, this is the natural progression and mirrors community organizations throughout the country. Everywhere Boards struggle to do the right thing, to make progress, to build on what has gone before, and to strike out in new directions. I often think of it as a relay race – with one Board passing the torch to the next and so on, and so on. We learn from those who have gone before, we add our own mark, and we move the process forward. And when we have the luxury of looking back over decades of progress we are struck not so much by our differences – but by our similarities. The common thread is mission. How we run the race matters – and never losing sight of the finish line matters even more.