Recent scribblings – managing high potential rock star librarians

Right after I got back from New York, Hurricane Sandy hit and I spent a lot of time in the quickweb spreading links about how people could help libraries affected by Hurricane Sandy (you still can – NJ, NY) and making my own donations. A week after that I also got the news that I’d been elected Justice of the Peace of my small town in Vermont. This is neat news. Similar to my stint on ALA Council a long time ago, I’ve often felt that helping people different from you to solve their problems often involves working from the inside. So in addition to weddings, local JPs help out with elections and tax abatement hearings and it seemed like a good way for me to get involved. Because I didn’t know much about this position, I’ve been doing (surprise!) a lot of research and I’ve been collating that into a post-a-day blog called For Great Justice. Feel free to read if you’d like to.

I have also still been reading a lot of the trade publications and the usual Twitter/Facebook/blog stuff, I’ve just been doing a poorer job of radiating it outward. The latest thing I’ve been reading that has made an impact is this long ALA Think Tank discussion of a blog post by Stephen Abram about managing “hig potential” employees or, as he puts it, The Rock Star Dilemma.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I have this problem. Not like “Oh I am so terrific at work all the time!” but that I have a lot of energy and ideas and have often found that in real-world library jobs this is not only not appreciated (okay, that’s fine) it’s actively discouraged, de-emphasized and occasionally disparaged. This bums me out. So it was interesting to read the long discussion on how not just management but “high potential” employees themselves can better manage these awkward situations to achieve better results for libraries. Stephen has created a lengthy follow up post where he includes a thoughtful list of suggestions and tips that synthesizes a lot of the ideas that came up in the discussion. Worth a read.