I admit it. I said it. Very passionately, too. Where? At the SLJ Library Leadership Summit. Why? Because I was reading lips of people in the audience who were saying things like, "I’m not going to try that stuff. I don’t have time. It’s just a waste to try. It won’t do any good."
The context: we were on a panel discussing the idea of breaking out of the box and roadblocks. I posted several of my points and commentary on this blog. I mentioned that complacency is our worst enemy and that we do it do ourselves. My part of the panel centered around discussing dispositions and attitudes. I strongly believe we have to model being life-long learners.
This does not mean I think every librarian has to twitter, set up facebook pages for her students, and throw out their books. I am not an ivory tower library theologian. I am a practicing librarian who doesn’t have enough electricity or ethernet connections to meet the demands of our program. I have one microphone and 15 headseats and 2 speakers for 19 computers. I am a practicing librarian with 940 students and a clerk who has been there 2 days out of 5 for the past 3 weeks due to illness. I don’t meet my own standards of success. I’m not doing enough to make me happy. I don’t teach enough, have enough circulation, or plan enough lessons with my faculty. I don’t have enough unfiltered computers, time in the day, or a beautiful library. Mine is actually an ugly box room that needs updating. My budget is woefully inadequate and I need new carpet and furniture. My AV setup is ridiculous with me running around with 7 remotes in and out of a closet for presentations. I have 2 digital projectors on carts to circulate to teachers with 940 students. 2. Inadequate.
What I do have is a desire to change and a commitment to keep learning new approaches to providing the best library program and materials to enable the students before me to succeed. That’s all I want others to have – a willing attitude to try new things and never be complacent that their program is good enough. My program is not good enough. I want to improve it. I’m willing to try something new.
If you aren’t willing to try something new, you are just a placeholder and are endangered. You may even be endangering the rest of us in our profession. These are harsh words, but I want to help you. I’m here to listen to you.
Most of you are silent in comments because, as one passed to me in a note "if I disagree, they might attack me". ARGH! Don’t be silent. You can be anonymous. Leave your comments on this blog. Use a pseudonym like roadblock1 or your#1hater or overwhelmed or simplytired. Wait, don’t use simplytired as your alias, because I may have to start using that one.
We must continue to explore, embrace, create, and collaborate with each other in our profession. If you aren’t moving and curious about what’s happening, you are a roadblock. That’s why I was suddenly overcome and the words slipped out that "if you aren’t willing to learn and try new things for the benefit of your students, get out of my profession."
Begin the lambasting. Some of my friends in the audience already did, but we deserve to have this conversation.
It’s interesting that it comes at a time when Joyce Valenza, Doug Johnson, Beth Friese, Kathy Kleigman, Cathy Nelson, Buffy Holland, Sharron McElmeel, Nancy Everhart, and many other librarians that I respect are discussing these issues and attitudes. It’s a discussion that needs to occur.
Maybe if wild things like me make controversial statements once in a while, you will feel impelled to respond. Don’t be a scaredy cat!