Friday, December 1, 2006

Turtle's Tale by Gerald Brown

I was with Gerald Brown, Honorary Ambassador of IASL, in the National Book Week Fellowship Night. The following day, we met again to discuss his next trip to Manila sometime next year. Apparently, Gerald, has touched base with PATLS for a conference addressing library education in the Philippines. Plans are still tentative and everything else is still floating on air but, given the time and the resources, it may just be possible.

Lunch with Gerald Brown was a full meal of food and conversations. At the end of the productive lunch meeting, he left with me his proposals for workshops, CDs of presentations, a research paper and a story.

In his calling card, you would find important information about him, of course. But the most striking thing about his calling card was the logo of a sea turtle. It took only one question, "why a turtle?", for Gerald to tell the story.

Twenty five hears ago, Gerald's friend and coleague was frustrated at the state of librarianship in that district of Canada where they work. To pacify his friend, he said, "Be like the turtle, slow and steady but it's going to get where it intends to go. It's a mark of leadership." From then on, Gerald has used the turtle's metaphor for change and evolution.

Tutles do know where to go. They have the vision. They stick their necks out but they're slow and steady. They can overcome obstacles and hardships because they're made of tough skin. Or shell, I should say. They lay eggs. And these eggs are like ideas. Some eggs die before being hatched. Some are eaten and manipulated. Some live but are endangered by predators. Some go back to the sea to flourish and live. This has been the turtles' life for years and it has survived.

Leadership like the turtle's is not made of arrogance and bravado, but of hardwork, wisdom, longevity, risk taking and perseverance. Such traits that also bespeak of Gerald Brown.

Have a safe trip back to Canada, Gerald! See you again soon!

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