Monday, May 9, 2016

The big news


There's nothing wrong with email's ability to disseminate information. There's a pretty good chance you are reading these words via email and look how knowledgeable and informed you are.

You are incredibly knowledgeable and informed!

But only about the important things.

Nevertheless email cannot begin to compare to the power of word of mouth when it comes to the really big things. The news about our library director resigning flew through the back room of my library like a swarm of bats, thousands of bats all startled in a single, dramatic moment. It was unmissable. Even if one was on one's email at the precise second the news broke, the act of clicking on the read button of that message, or even reading its subject title, would have lagged badly behind the almost physical burst of information as it tore through the staff.

In the eruption of this earth shattering news the staff was instantly formed by the force of it into small, local groups to furiously discuss the prospects, meaning, causes and details of this major library news. No one was talking about anything at all other than our library director's new job and who our new library director might be. And nobody was not talking. Every other consideration, gossip, discussion, and work issue was swept into nothingness by the magnitude and interest of this vital news that was bound to affect every one of us.

This flurry of fascinated, overwhelming obsession lasted for about ten minutes, at which point every drop of juice, even every hint of moisture, was sucked out of the news and all that was left was a dried out, dessicated husk.

So we went back to chatting about all the other things, and since then we have hardly discussed it again.

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