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.

6 thoughts on “freedom: the powerful and the powerless

  1. Pingback: LibraryCrunch
  2. Whose good? Which problems? I’ve already built bridges and will continue to do so. But being a boss means making decisions that are going to make some people unhappy. It also means challenging people on ideas they take for granted. I think Gorman does the latter. And if you seriously want to build bridges then you need to stop talking about respecting someone’s politics and start talking about respecting the profession. That’s the former.

  3. But that is exactly my point, what does it mean to “respect the profession”?

    In my world that means the Library Bill of Rights and other things that to me MEANT librarianship when I was in library school. For other people it means different things. You got 2000+ votes in the Council election and while it didn’t get you elected, that definitely says something, in my opinion. But who is the final arbiter of what “the profession” means? It’s clearly not Michael Gorman — there are ways to challenge people without stooping to name calling — and I’m not sure where to go from there.

  4. For starters and speaking for myself, if you’re on the Twit Lists, you’re not respecting the profession. There will always be debate about what makes the profession but there are some things that are decidedly not. If people can’t agree on that simple a concept then what good are any bridges trying to be made?

  5. JESSAMYN, your comment about “respect the profession” is great!

  6. This is the age of digital library, there are so many libraries’ colloction are available on net. It has been observed in our country books are not read on the sceen or monitor, usualy books’author & title or publisher are noted for study later on.
    Some times print may be get, sometimes printer is not available.
    In your country latest magazine articles is not be provided for reader or researcher, think over this.

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