Asset-based Community Development, NASA, Working Girl

I’m supporting an internal training by awesom Bess de Farber, sharing on grant partnerships. She’s talking about asset-based community development, and stated: “if you don’t know what you have, you don’t know what you can do.” This is exactly what we do in digital libraries, and we describe this in many ways.

For ways of describing our work, I remember when I first started in digital libraries, and two senior librarians gave their examples of how we should do our work (it was 2007, so still in an earlier golden age of digital libraries). Both gave examples from movies. One gave an example of a movie about NASA (I don’t remember which movie), when something went wrong, looking at what the astronauts had, and figuring out how to use those resources to get home alive. The other gave the example of the 1980s movie Working Girl with Melanie Griffith, for how she collects information on/from popular culture to hone keen insight for Wall Street mergers and super business savvy. I remember not knowing either of the movies given, and finding the examples confusing. I’m pretty sure I rented both of the movies mentioned at a DVD/VHS rental store (Netflix streaming wasn’t then what it is today), and learned that they were explaining how we work, in terms I now know as appreciative inquiry, mutual assistance, mutual aid, creativity, innovation, and more.

I have a lot of readings that I would recommend to folks (Generous Thinking, Shine Theory, Kropotkin), but I’m not sure what movie I would recommend for illustrating all of this. I hope to have movies to suggest soon, to help illustrate/communicate more effectively, and to continue an excellent history from those senior librarians who passed on their wisdom and, in doing so, shared a bit about themselves with their movie preferences.