Got the message?

Board meetings are like Thanksgiving; I’m much happier during and afterward than before.  Wednesday’s session was fine; after two years in this area of church administration the four of us can finish each other’s sentences and interpret nonverbal shorthand.  If you’re going to serve as the minutes-taker (my job this month) this is the group to record. 

In the midst of brainstorming and task delegation, I enjoyed seeing our chairperson’s flashy new bracelet thoughtfully readjusted each time the wearer pondered a point.  This accessory had been distributed that day in her workplace, she explained.  The bright orange band read “Talk. Text. Crash.”  This was the first bracelet from TxDOT’s Distracted Driving Campaign that I’d seen.

Five minutes after concluding the meeting and heading back to Round Rock I became a distracted driver myself. 

But not that kind: my phone stays zipped into my handbag when I’m driving.   During the couple of seconds I viewed a particular roadside sign, I was sidetracked from one part of the ad by another one. 

The professionally lettered placard promoted a special rate for a massage at a nearby spa.  But I couldn’t tell you what that price was; I was too diverted by the mixed message set before us.  The young man propping up the sign braced the edge with one hand; with the other he cradled his (obviously engrossing) cell phone.  To hear the caller better, he’d swiveled his body completely away from oncoming traffic.

What better way to convey a service associated with personal focus and individual attention than turning your back on your entire potential customer base? 

To be fair, let’s conclude that the sign presenter responded to just one urgent message and had been actively seeking eye contact with the traffic stream the other 99.5% of his shift.  No one knows better than librarians how ubiquitous cell phones are. 

Along with requests for more programs, DVDs, eBooks, bestsellers, etc. library staffers are frequently asked to persevere in establishing a calm, study-conducive atmosphere on second floor.  You can imagine why this scenario challenges everyone.  We achieve a fair rate of success only because staff and empathetic customers all pitch in to make it so.

The library has received an online award for “Best Study Spot“, and customers tell us, “My family won’t be quiet, so I’m counting on you all for that.”

Upstairs, you’ll see lovely green signs picturing ferns and a barely rippling pond surface, gently establishing Quiet Floor territory.  Should your cell phone or conversation exceed what other customers expect, we’d offer you a pretty fern-themed card as a reminder. 

You’ll probably appreciate these scenic, watery communiqués as much as we do.  Not only do they help ensure you can study and work, they also remind you that, when you’re ready to play, the fountains, music, and conviviality of Main Street Plaza await just a few steps away.

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