Sunny Days

When I was five years old, fireflies were my friends. In the small South Carolina town of Sumter, I would walk outside as the day wound down into dusk, put my hand in the air and delight as the fireflies would land on my fingers. I would cup my hand over them, peeking between my fingers to watch them walk around and light up their temporary home between my palms. I named them all Sunny.

One day, one of my Sunny friends landed on my hand but this one looked a little different than the others. His backside was yellow but there was no light on it and he was rounder and fuzzier than I remembered. He also didn’t seem to appreciate his new home much, which I discovered when he stung me.

The final Sunny was a bee.

I can still remember how utterly betrayed I felt, that one of my beloved friends had hurt me. He wouldn’t be the last, of course, but he was the first. For awhile, I didn’t try to catch fireflies anymore, but I did eventually drift back, though I never named another.

Now, that was not an awesome experience. As much as I can still feel the pain that last Sunny caused (both physical and emotional), I can also recall the joy all the other Sunnies brought me, but I didn’t have the life experience to understand that one bad experience should not spoil countless good ones.

The thing about being an adult is that now I do understand and in a professional sense, that is what I try to do with the podcast I created, Circulating Ideas: show off the good experiences we create in libraries, which far outnumber the things not going our way. The profession is filled with innovative people, and I want the show to be a platform for them to show off how awesome they are. When I promote the show, I’m also promoting those guests who have been on and will be on, paying it forward.

I have done a lot of promotion for the show in the past, from writing guest posts for other blogs to appearing on other podcasts to posting updates to multiple social media accounts (some that I update more the others), but the biggest piece of self-promotion I’ve done, which is somewhat unique in the world of libraries, is my Kickstarter campaign, which ends on May 17.

Kickstarter allows creative projects to gather pledges to fund themselves, providing rewards to backers, with the safety net being that if a project is not fully-funded, no one pays out. Before embarking on this self-promotional journey, I studied successful Kickstarter projects and other projects related to podcasts and libraries (there were not a lot!), to see what the expectations were on setting rewards and how projects were presented. I listened to the New Disruptors podcast, which talks to people who use nontraditional ways of raising capital for their projects, and read more articles on Kickstarter than I care to count. I put together what I thought was a reasonable package to help me expand and enhance the show and went live. Within 48 hours, the project had been fully funded and the pledges continue to trickle in. So far, I have passed my first stretch goal – which are additional goals set, after initial funding is achieved – and hope to pass at least the second goal before the project ends. As much as the Kickstarter project will help me make the show bigger and better, it has also brought a lot of attention and I’ve hopefully picked up more listeners along the way, which will bring them to the attention of all the great people featured on the show.

We sometimes feel stung from the attacks on libraries but we need to remember that the future is bright for libraries if we can embrace the best of our profession and push forward into more sunny days. My hope is that I’m able to be a part of that, and I hope you will be, too.

Want to know more about the 30 Days of Awesome project? Check out these posts by Kelly, Liz, and Sophie.

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