Soul food – culture and IT meets Library

This post takes a meandering wander through my mind and ends up again with the IT/Library relationship.

Last night I went to the City Muster, and my thirsty soul was fed a little (hmmm – mixed metaphors here….oh well, never mind, I’m sure you get my drift). I gave the tickets to my son (J, the one with AS ) for Christmas, because somehow, despite being born and growing up in cities, he has a love of country things – actually my daughter (P) does too – she loves the red dirt nearly as much as I do. My father calls them throwbacks.

The music was fantastic, and I’m so glad I went. Adam Brand  entertained with his usual brilliance, and Lee Kernaghan was just sooooo good, I could have listened to him all night. I was also really impressed by Troy Cassadaly. I hadn’t heard his music before, and he was fantastic.

There was a beaut ute competition, and whip cracking as well. P would have enjoyed that – she has a leather whip especially made for her by my father, which she can crack quite well (for a city girl).

As the day turned into evening, and the sticky heat cooled to a pleasant evening under the stars, I had plenty of time to ponder. As I was listening to the great music, I was taken back to my roots in the red dirt country.  I started thinking about roots, and what they mean to us. I know that when I have been touch with this part of myself, I stand a little taller, feel more centred, much more comfortable about taking risks, and have a little more self-belief. And I wonder if this is true for all of us, and I thought about all those in our society that have no sense of their roots.

That started me thinking about confidence, and a true ‘knowing’ of ourselves. And I came to realise that when I am more confident and my self-belief is higher, I am much more open to differences in others, and much more accepting of them.

That lead me to think about a conversation I had with a colleague at work who I met for the first time last week. She is a bright, enthusiastic women, who has travelled and lived in many places in Australia.  But she stopped me in my tracks when she spoke in a very derogatory way about a town in Northern Queensland where she lived for some time, and while I can’t remember her exact words, ‘rednecks’ was one of them. The way the comments came across was that the whole town was full of people who, because they didn’t live in the ‘civilised’ environment in Melbourne or other capitals were somehow not worth considering as individuals, and their way of life was somehow ‘less’ than her culture. I’m sure that wasn’t how she meant the comment, and I didn’t take it up with her, but I was stunned. As a country girl, it wouldn’t take me two minutes to find plenty of reasons why country life is more ‘civilised’ than city life.

So while I was thinking about this, my mind wandered on to thinking about acceptance of others of different culture, and why this is often such a difficult thing to do for many people. I have recently read Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear”, and while I am not informed enough about the environment to make a judgement about his main argument, I did find interesting his storyline about the media’s involvement in creating a state of fear. I then started wondering how much the media reporting of race riots and the way it is done contributes to fear about people from another culture.

Or is it related to our reluctance to take risks, and therefore open ourselves to experiences outside our comfort zone? And if so, does that link back to a lack of self-confidence?

And then finally, my thoughts turned full circle, and I started thinking about the IT/Library relationship. Is this also a question of cultural differences, and can we look at some of the same tools to resolve differences in this context as well? It the solution based on being open about our culture, and sharing with each other so that we understand and therefore can be more accepting of the differences? If the key is communication, how should that communication be facilitated? How can both cultures become more aware and informed rather than relying on the ‘translator” (otherwise known as the systems librarian) to form the bridge?