Doodling: as fun as library research?
Today I ran across a crafting phenomenon called Zentangles. It is a form of meditative doodling, using simple patterns and repetition to create attractive small pieces, usually monochrome. It’s the sort of thing you do idly on the phone, but with a purpose and as a calming/focusing technique. Sounds nice, right? Turns out there is a big contingent of “you’re doing it wrong!!!” people involved in this. There are formal official names for the little patterns, a certification process for instructors, copyright FUD and everything. Here’s a video of a nice lady who is showing people how not to be AFRAID of freaking DOODLING, and there are people all over the comments telling her she’s doing it wrong, I’m certified, you don’t know what you’re doing, etc etc. This is one example – there are tons more. How to take the fun out of something that we’ve all enjoyed since childhood.
And then it occurred to me… that’s what we sometimes do in the library. We tell people they’re doing it wrong in a finger-wagging way. I’m certified, you don’t know what you’re doing. Of course, there IS such a thing as doing it wrong. And there IS value in having boundaries and techniques that describe a particular named practice whether that’s art or searching or Pilates. Otherwise everything is everything and nothing is anything. But wow, do I cringe at the thought our users are hearing me the way I’m hearing the Zentangle police.