I agree with you, it's not.
This week seems to be one of way too much going on and so I suffer paralysis. I find myself mildly envious of the librarians I encounter when I give presentations who have never heard the term "RSS" or who ask, "what's an iPod?" How come I got blessed with a major curiosity gene that kept me restless and often frustrated as a real, working librarian? And as you readers know, I don't work as a real librarian anymore although of course my education and work experience are very important to my current position.
So, I was interested to read at Library Dust, (one of George's favorite blogs) Michael McGrorty's post about Jessamyn West. Michael began by writing:
In an old house in the wilds of Vermont lives a woman who may hold the keys to the future of the American Library—the one with the capital ‘L.’ There, far from the epicenter of library affairs, she ekes out a marginal existence working part-time for a local library, awaiting a call to greater service. You have probably heard of her; she is Jessamyn West and her story tells a lot about the pace and nature of progress in the institution with and without the capital ‘L.’
He goes on to write about the nature of hiring in librarianship and why it is, in our profession, the restless, the square pegs in round holes, are very often not heading up major libraries.
Jessamyn asks the hard questions, the ones with the answers nobody wants to hear. You don’t get a long way in the library world by inquiring whether the library, as found, is a good idea; what you get from that is a library that is a good idea, but only after a lot of change. Libraries like to claim they want change. They don’t. Change in the library world comes when it is forced by circumstances: when somebody invents a computer to replace the card catalog, when the Internet comes along to nudge the print world; very few of the crash-bang innovations in the library come from librarians.
So it was appropriate that our colleague Eric Childress forwarded me this link to a piece from a company/resource site called LeaderValues, about innovation called Can Bad Attitudes Lead to Good Business Innovation? It's short and worth reading (and there are other things worth reading there). It ends with this:
So if you want innovators in your team look for people with some particular bad attitudes – the ones with rebellious, contrary and divergent views. These are people who some might label as troublemakers. They are not negative or cynical – on the contrary they are passionate about their ideas. They do not defer to authority, they are dissatisfied with the status quo, they are impatient for change and they are angry about the obstacles put in their way.
Hmm, I know quite a few librarians with "bad attitudes" who no longer work in libraries.