freedom: the powerful and the powerless

I think Sarah said it best when she posted about Michael Gorman’s latest piece [pdf] in American Libraries: Michael Gorman alienates and divides our profession. More in the comments over at Library Crunch, Free Range Librarian, and See Also….

The whole thing depresses me, honestly. I’ve respected Michael’s politics historically, and I voted for him for ALA President and for that I apologize. I’m beginning to realize just how important tone can be, in myself and in others. I don’t care how good people’s politics are, if they can’t at least make an effort to discuss things with me as if I were worth talking to, I worry about their ability to lead and inspire others who aren’t already on board with their ideas. This affected my choices for Council this year, as much as I respect Greg McClay’s honest attempt to change ALA from within and as much as I like talking to him personally, the tone of his posts makes me question his ability to bridge-build with people who don’t share his beliefs. I have similar feelings about current Councilors on both sides of the spectrum, it may be true that they feel the same way about me, some of them certainly seem to.

However, with Greg and myself and other people with blogs, it stands to reason that we’ll let more of ourselves shine through. You have the choice to read or not to read. I’m not the boss of you. In fact, due to my position on Council, my readers are more the boss of me than vice versa in some sort of quirky aggregate way. One would think, then, that being “the boss” of ALA — though as we all know it’s pretty tough to get anything done with a one year term — you’d pay special attention to the fact that you represent everyone. Maybe I think this because I exist in a constant state of performance anxiety: I want to do well on Council, on this blog, in my talks, at my job, in my relationship, in my town. I can’t imagine it being otherwise. Who doesn’t want to Do Good? Who doesn’t want to Fix the Problem(s)?

If I was the boss of you, I would want you to be happy. I don’t understand how it’s supposed to work otherwise.

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