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Thursday 14 March 2024

Living in my bubble - in the bubble, from the bubble, out the bubble.


By Renee Damonse

Most of us operate from our own perspective, thinking, interacting, communicating, offering services from our own context, from our life experiences and backgrounds. All that we are exposed to makes us who we are today. We need to remember this and take into account that people have feelings, that people react to situations based on what is happening in their lives. We have no idea the kind of day someone is having. We just see the physical appearance and are clueless as to the emotions, etc a person is going through. We are all encapsulated in our own bubble. Living in a bubble. Living in our own bubble.

In my bubble I have a BSc or an Hon's or PhD degree from UKZN. I drive a VW. I travel on the N3. I eat KFC. I attend St Alps church. I buy bread from Woolies and PNP. We direct students to the LAN. They major in Psych, Eco, Bio and Socio. When offering library instruction, I may mention RMS, RonMc, LibGuides, Class numbers, DDC, LC, RC, MMC, etc. I know what these terms, abbreviations and acronyms mean, but do students? We give students a DDC guide, not acknowledging that they may never have used DDC before don’t and may not understand what the decimal point means.

We advise students to register for training sessions on cellphones and laptops, but do we check that the necessary instructions have been provided? The student may be left wondering in the absence of instructions what happens once you have registered for the session. This happens because I am living in my bubble.

My poor listeners are often left in the dark, trying to figure out what I am talking about. As new students, fresh from high school, eager and ready to start a new chapter of their lives at university, they hear all these new terms and concepts and must be so confused and lost.

Attending meetings and trainings and myself being exposed to other people’s jargon, it made me stop and re-evaluate my training sessions and the terms and concepts that I use. I now try to be more aware of library jargon, and try to stick to basics and explain terms that may be new to my listeners.

Let's burst the bubble. Let’s climb out of our bubble and realise that others are not in the same bubble as us. We need to realise that we all do not operate from the same bubble. We need to cater to the needs of others. We need to empathise and place ourselves in their shoes, and try experience what they are going through. Let’s burst the bubble and try to be more accommodating.

I will now try to break free from my bubble and speak about Risk Management Services, Ronald McMillon lecture theatre in Golf Road, online guides, Dewey Decimal classification numbers, Dewey Decimal Classification, Library of Congress subject headings, Research Commons, Multimedia Classroom, etc. I will now try to give better descriptions, showing pictures if it is a presentation. I hope by trying to be clearer and being more specific that I now leave my listener with a clearer path to follow.

When you are new and overwhelmed it is so daunting for new students. We need to try remember all those situations that we ourselves have faced where we were also new to a situation, when we felt unsure, needed help, needed a smile and a helping hand to guide and re-assure us along the path. Put yourself in the other person’s situation. Let's go the extra mile. Let's move on trying to help each other. We do not know their background, what they went through last night or that morning, or five minutes before they asked you for assistance. Let’s try to be as neutral and helpful as possible when offering our help to library patrons.

Try to offer the best assistance possible, given that you yourself may have had a fight with your mother, or experienced a death in the family. The person asking for help is unaware of your situation and what you have been through, just as you may be blissfully unaware of what they have been through. It’s all so easy to be so wrapped up in ourselves and live in our own bubble and forget that the world is turning and spinning for all the humans out there. Welcome, welcome, welcome to our world. Let’s knock our bubbles together, offer the information needed, offering our help to produce the research paper, assignment, proposal, project. A little gentleness goes a long way to ensuring all needs are met. A little kindness can go a long way.


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