Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Learning from the library

Edited quotes from a blog by a librarian, teaching other librarians about new technology. Try to substitute the word "journalist" for librarian:

I had conversations with so many passionate and motivated librarians that were just so disheartening. One lovely woman even burst into tears. “You don’t know how much your talk meant to me and gave me new hope. I’ve been trying to get our management to look at these things for years, but ... I’m sorry to cry. My tears aren’t because of you. They’re just from all my frustrations.”

This type of frustration I heard echoed in almost every conversation (but thankfully not all) I had over the past three days. ... I’m beginning to wonder if what the profession really needs is just to give some administrators a good swift kick in the head. Those that I spent my time talking with clearly got all the 2.0 concepts, in fact they were apostles. But after trying to move their libraries forward for the past year or so, they felt stippled and oppressed by stale management and old world politics.

My heart melted a bit every time I heard a story from a passionate librarian whose gallant efforts to provide new and fresh services were crushed by the old guard. Clearly things need to change… but I’m struggling even myself with exactly just how?

The answers I know aren’t simple, but my sense is that these woes can be summed up in one question … Is your library, your management, your leadership culture built around policies and practices that “control” or are they open and flexible to “empower” both employees and your customers?

...It’s hard to fight battles through small change, but with enough small battles, it creates some erosion. And the thing about erosion is ... that if it continues long enough, it eventually leads to an avalanche of new opportunity!

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