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The Power of Habit

July 9, 2012

I haven’t thought about water is such a personal way since the incident of the dead cat a few years ago, when the flushing of a newly installed valve in the city water system produced a dead cat, to everyone’s chagrin.

We went on “boil alert”—a discomfiting phrase—until safety procedures were completed. But I brushed my teeth with tap water anyway, out of habit, forgetting.

This June, between meditation retreats, I camped in the mountains above Santa Fe for four nights in our camper, bringing along 16 gallons of water. Some might think this was barely enough for tea, but it was enough for everything: tea, water bottle, brushing teeth, washing dishes, washing me.

The shower hose had a bad leak, so I wasted some water despite very short showers. I used 15 of the 16 gallons. Needless to say, the faucet was mostly set on “dribble.” It’s a different perspective when you can watch your supply dwindle.

We have habits that will probably not change without some feedback. It would be interesting to have water meters in the home where we could see them working. You’d think the flow of unused water down the drain would be enough to make us change, but no. I bet we all have practices wherein we could cut our water use dramatically.

We have our habits, and sometimes vacations provide relief, although I bet we take many of them along with us. For example, in a new place you might first establish the location of a coffee shop or Internet access. I guess they come together nowadays.

We could see the power of habit in the library as people came in and walked around two obnoxiously placed signs pointing to the new location of the public computers. Nothing gets in the way of a good habit.

So things are a little different now in our remodeled library. Some people stand scratching their chins for a moment but usually figure it out. Here’s a brief description of some changes:

The public computers, plus workspace for laptop users, have moved to the basement where our meeting room used to be. This is a big change that has turned out better for everyone, including computer users.

There is a new wall and entrance into the children’s room, and this is working well for muffling noise and defining the children’s library as its own space. Plus, we’ve moved the Young Adult books and audiobooks upstairs into the adult level, making more room in the children’s library.

We could accommodate the young adult collection upstairs because we took out the old office and stairs in the far corner and made room for more shelving.

So now, upstairs on the left, we have (i) young adult fiction, (ii) fiction audiobooks, (iii) large print fiction, and (iv) the regular fiction collection.

The right side, except for magazines, is given to non-fiction, including large print and audiobooks. And we still have our basement annex with over 20,000 items, but no, there’s still no browsing. Staff access only.

Someone suggested a “road map” to the library—not so much a map of what’s where in the library, although that can help, but also to what’s available through the library. Our digital aspects are changing, too, such as new online offerings and new ebooks.

And, come August 1, we’ll be a full participant in the Prospector system, meaning you can place requests online selecting not only from the Marmot system’s 1.4 million titles but also Prospector’s 30 million.

We’ll work on a road map. Meanwhile, be careful about water, but your tap for knowledge can be wide open.

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