One kind word can warm three winter months [Japanese Proverb]

December 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Nancy Bianchi, Health Sciences Librarian and Associate Professor at the Dana Medical Library at the University of Vermont shares her experiences at the NAHSL 2016 meeting.  Nancy is another winner of NAHSL’s Professional Development award.   Congratulations, Nancy and thank you for a very uplifting and positive narrative.


I wish to thank the NAHSL Professional Development Award Committee for the generous scholarship to attend the NAHSL annual meeting in New Haven, CT. It allowed me to hear three very fine plenary speakers as well as to share my research and creative work in Lightning Round and Poster presentations. Thank you!

One kind word can warm three winter months [Japanese Proverb]

 As I was preparing to write this blog post, I witnessed a random act of kindness. This act was prompted by the sudden arrival of winter in New England. However, the cold icy Monday morning quickly melted under a work colleague’s warm words. We had just learned from a phone call that another librarian’s car had gone off the road on her way to work. Without hesitation, the librarian’s supervisor reassured her that all was well in the library, and she should take the day off and go home to a nice cup of tea after getting her car situation back on the road.

Wow! A split-second kindness … a wonderfully kind gesture that could have come straight out of Susan Keane Baker’s book with the same title.

Although all of the plenary speakers at this year’s NAHSL Conference were engaging and informative, it was Susan Keane Baker’s presentation that left me wanting to pull out my notes from her talk and share them through this blog post.

So, I hope you enjoy my posting, Random Reflections on ‘Speed Stuns’ by Susan Keane Baker.

Susan’s presentation was excellent! She moved quickly through her customer service tactics but in a very organized way. Her handout for Speed Stuns provided an active learning template with many ideas that can be used on a daily basis at work or even at home.

Her handout also included tables listing credibility behaviors and likeability behaviors. All this practical information not only spoke to creating an atmosphere of quality service in the library but also to managing and mentoring staff. At this point in her presentation, Susan shared a beautiful quote from Mr. Rogers that he carried in his pocket, 11lf you know someone’s story, it’s impossible not to like them!”

At the end of Susan’s presentation, she distributed a limited number of her pocket-size book, Split-Second Kindness: making a difference when time is limited. I am so glad that I had an opportunity to take one. This small book includes many kindness techniques to use and to practice.

Although Split-Second Kindness addresses primarily situations and relationships in the health care field, its messages can transcend all organizations and groups. For example, take this thought from the book’s introduction: “What would it be like if every patient thought he or she was your favorite patient? Even the smallest kindness can accomplish this.” It’s so easy to just substitute the word “patron” for “patient” to make this beautiful thought work in all of our libraries!

In fact, on a recent appointment for my annual PE, I happened to be browsing through Split­ Second Kindness as I was waiting for my primary care physician to enter the exam room. Almost immediately, she asked me what Iwas reading and Ishared with her this thought from Leo Buscaglia, “Do you know the wonder of walking into a room and having people happy because you are there? That’s the greatest thing.”

She paused, shared a soft smile, and asked where she could get a copy of that little book. I think kind words are infectious!

Nancy Bianchi, MSLIS

Health Sciences Librarian, Library Associate Professor Dana Medical Library, University of Vermont


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