Letter from Debbie: Dare Mighty Things

April 29, 2021

Mars has been a favorite object of skywatchers for centuries and of space explorers for decades. I watched in amazement a few months ago when Perseverance landed on the surface of Mars (~150 million miles away) having lifted off from earth in July 2020. I was also watching a few days ago when NASA’s first solar-powered helicopter, Ingenuity, took flight on Mars (the first-ever flight on another planet – as exciting as the Wright Brothers' first flight on earth). I found all of this inspiring and incredible in what can be achieved when individuals with a dream work together, collaborate, bring their individual talents to the table to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts.

As I watched the small group of engineers in a nondescript conference room wait to see if Ingenuity would fly (with livestreaming captured over three hours later), I was totally intrigued by the largeness and placement of letters above the technicians' heads that couldn’t be missed. They read “Dare Mighty Things”[1].

We should all be so bold in our thinking!

The Mars project has captured my attention with this straightforward and simple quote and the challenge it expressed. It has captured my attention with the name that NASA engineers have given to this small drone. It has captured my attention with the engineer’s confidence, self-belief, and self-determination to work it out until they got it right. Everything about this makes me believe that each of us needs to step up to challenges, put in 110 percent, take the lead, and accomplish what we most desire through inventiveness, resourcefulness, imagination, creativity and initiative.

While the mission to Mars is absolutely enormous, there is always a way to grab some of this energy, and put focus to the kind of bold, daring, and innovative approaches in building the kind of library we want to work in and/or the kind of community that we want to live in.

Start small, do something in your own library, in your neighborhood, on a street corner. To get what you want, start from where you are, and with what you have. These small acts can be catalytic and lead to bigger partnerships and projects.

Bigger, more collaborative projects? Get out in your community and talk to each other, reach into other sectors, build partnerships and understand what other people care about. What happens when we participate in things that aren’t library-related—like community meetings; politics; volunteering for other nonprofits or at our children’s schools; etc. This is the intersection where we can use our creativity to help identify and find solutions to community challenges.

Action breeds results. Step up, make contact, build, create, just do it—small or large! Roll up your sleeves, there is no reason to hold back, make things happen even in light of sometimes not knowing how to get there. Show up each and every day, make every minute count and be fully engaged. Use your creativity to make the world a better place. Dare Mighty Things!

Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director


[1]The quote is attributed to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and is the unofficial motto of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA.

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