Saturday, January 17, 2009


"Serendipity" is a term that comes up fairly often in Library Science in the context of research. (For some reason when I think of this word an image of a purple dragon comes to mind--does anybody have an idea why?) The definition in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: 11th ed. is as follows:

serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

Perhaps you have experienced in searching for a certain item in the library, not finding the source you are looking for, you find something even better nearby. In the majority of such cases it is because of the cataloging & classification in the library--in other words, resources about the same subjects are shelved together in the stacks.
Sometimes, however, things just seem to come together. For instance, I am by nature better at presenting my own thoughts & opinions than listening to others. For me to be the husband Angie needs, however, I need to be a better listener. Understanding this, I find that the classes I'm taking this semester in graduate school, particularly "Introduction to Research," teach me to be a better listener. The purpose in the class is so I can help people find what they are really looking for, even if they don't know themselves. I think that this mindset will help me listen & pay attention to my wife better, & to respect what she has to say without feeling the need to give my own input.

Is serendipity just one of those things, or is there a reason? I know what I think, but I'll leave it up to you...

(Revelation 4:11)


Ann said...

This reminds me of the librarian in Westfield who knew what a patron wanted when she asked, "What is Thursday?" There's a poem of chores that supposedly came over on the Mayflower:
"Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Bake on Wednesday,
Brew on Thursday,
Churn on Friday,
Mend on Saturday,
Go to meeting on Sunday."
Turns out, that is exactly what the patron was looking for! Librarians are awesome!

Emily said...

I remember the dragon too, but I couldn't remember why, so I googled it and found this link:
Serendipity is a book about a pink dragon, and also the name of a series of books about happy little creatures including Flutterby (a winged horse) and Sassafras (an elephant)
I haven't thought about those books in a long time! :)