Grist for the Mill

One of my favorite professors in library school believed that a good librarian had knowledge a mile wide and an inch deep. He gave us the following advice.

The next time you go to the library (and if you’re like most Confabulators, your library card is burning a hole in your pocket pretty much most of the time), on the way in the door look at a random license plate. Jigger the numbers and letters around until it looks like a call number. Then go check out that book.

It works, it really does.

OK, so you don’t have to read the book cover to cover. But you should at least read the table of contents, the introduction, the first chapter, and the first few paragraphs of each of the other chapters. If you find something that interests you, read a bit more deeply. If not, feel free to skip. But try to take away at least the gist of the book.

If you find yourself at a newsstand or in a waiting room, read a magazine you would never have considered looking at in your ordinary life. Or find a random blog and read a few posts.

See, we all get into ruts. This is what I’m interested in; that is boring. Sometimes it takes just a little nudge to get you out of your comfort zone and open up whole new realms of ideas and associations.

You will be amazed at how useful all those random little bits of information become.

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