As cliché as this may sound, I looked up the definition of “transparent.” I knew that there were multiple definitions, but I was unprepared for what Merriam-Webster had for me, and its applicability to libraries.
1 a: having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly
b: fine or sheer enough to be seen through
2 a: free from pretense or deceit
b: easily detected or seen through
c: readily understood
d: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices
Naturally, the term transparent is associated with definition 1b above, an ability to see through something. However, the Transparent Library, as described by Casey and Stephens, embodies every varying definition of this term. The authors speak of the need to be honest, being accessible, keeping staff and users informed, and embracing feedback. These “signposts” of the authors’, are clearly seen in the definition of transparent as it equals something readily understood and completely without guise.
Interestingly enough, ego was also listed among the “signposts” of a transparent library, which made me think of attitudes. If I could add a signpost it would be to “watch your attitude.” An attitude can be a powerful tool because it is highly contagious. The question is whether it will be used for good or bad. When I was young, my mother would make my siblings and I spell the word, when our attitudes were unpleasant. She did not want the bad attitude of one child affecting the others. Now, as an adult, I try to maintain a positive attitude (which does not always work, but I do try). Early lessons taught me that it would be discourteous for my ill-temper to dampen the spirits of another person. In libraries, especially when we wish to encourage change and forward-thinking, one person’s negative attitude could be detrimental to the creative process. Of course, everyone on the team might also become skilled at spelling attitude. I know that I did!