By: Jennifer Ogrodowski, YSS President
While passing by one of the vendor booths at this year’s NYLA conference, I picked up an audio book version of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Little did I know that this week I would also read an email that talked about this work and the television series that was created based on the book. This past week, I watched the first episode of the series. As I sat down this morning, thinking about the notes I’d made from this year’s conference about the connections I saw from the workshops I attended, Cosmos came to mind.
The dictionary describes cosmos as: an orderly harmonious systematic universe; a complex orderly self-inclusive system. The pieces began to fall into place, and what I realized was most valuable to me about this year’s conference was the reminder of how what we do in our work is to help build connections and find a sense of “harmonious order” amidst what is sometimes an overwhelming amount if information about the world.
Sometimes the swirling mass of thoughts – things to do, goals to achieve, nuggets of understanding- come together. It is in these moments when thoughts and ideas no longer seem scattered, but rather inter-related that there are glimpses of a “big picture”. This is where ideas that once seemed separate come together as a giant a-ha moment creating a rich microcosm of shared experiences and understanding.
It is my hope that as we continue to be information seekers, we also continue to be information sharers. The more curious we are and the more we educate ourselves, the more we have to share with our communities and they, in turn, with the world. We can do great things together. We can achieve more together than we can alone. Let us remember that this is why we are here. Not because of the latest app or e-reader, but because of what these and other tools can do to help us connect people to the richness that is our world and beyond.
For how little we know in the grand scheme of things, we still need to make sense of what we do know. We do this by continuing to make new connections and by facilitating this process for others. I am reminded when I read something new in a discipline that I am not well read in how previous knowledge helps to understand new information. Each new way of talking or writing about something gives us new metaphors and similes to help us describe and understand something else in the world. This then gives each of us more ways to communicate with one another.
In the day to day of our work, we may not always remember the ripple effect that new knowledge has in the lives of ourselves and others, but if we slow down even for just a moment, we see the connection. Let us remember that this desire to facilitate connections to information, to people, to communities is at the core of the work we do. What an amazing cosmos we live in that there are always new connections to be discovered and shared.