Looks as if we have a little revolution on our hands, and it’s centered on the issue of access—or the lack thereof—to training opportunities for potential library leaders.
It started late last week when Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Training Specialist Lori Reed posted an article on her personal Library Trainer blog to explain why she would not renew her ALA membership next year: to protest the exclusion of library Support Staff from the American Library Association’s Emerging Leaders program.
Lori writes of the excitement she felt when she first read that the program is “designed to enable more than 100 new librarians to get on the fast track to ALA and professional leadership,” then felt the wind being taken out of her sails when she realized that she, as someone without an MLS degree, could not apply to participate in this wonderful opportunity being offered by an organization which she supports through membership fees.
“So ALA will happily take the money from library support staff…for membership but does not allow those same members to apply for leadership opportunities within ALA as this one…No thank you.”
A few responses—including mine, meant to encourage her to work within ALA to change the situation rather than leave and give up hope for opening the doors to more opportunity for non-librarians within ALA—trickled in over the weekend. And then the number of responses doubled and included thoughtful pieces in support of Lori’s dissatisfaction from two treasured associates whom I have known since we first met through Infopeople: Pat Wagner and Sarah Houghton-Jan.
Pat suggests that “a goodly number of libraries in small communities are run by people without masters’ degrees” and says she has been involved in “a number of library leadership programs that were open to everyone, and the quality of participants remained very high.”
Sarah takes this a step further with a posting on her Librarian In Black site today in addition to what she wrote in her “Library Trainer” posting, assures her readers that “I agree with Lori wholeheartedly,” and calls for ALA to “pay them (members of library Support Staff) the respect they deserve.”
Lori, encouraged by the responses, produced a follow-up post this evening as I was editing this article. Perhaps the rest of us who so passionately support training opportunities for the widest possible audience can support her and our colleagues by trying to gain the attention of those who are already involved in the program and might be willing to expand the definition of—and playing field for—prospective library leaders today.
Thank you to Pete for tagging me on this Passion Quilt meme…
(Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids (for me: Library School Students) to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)
original image, Hexagram Three from the I Ching, located:
From the Wilhelm-Baynes translation of “the I Ching or the Book of Changes”:
(text from http://theabysmal.wordpress.com/2006/10/25/i-ching-hexagram-3/)
“The name of the hexagram, Chun, really connotes a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth – hence the meaning, “difficulty at the beginning.” The hexagram indicates the way in which heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. It is their first meeting, which is beset with difficulties. The lower trigram Chen is the Arousing; its motion is upward and its image is thunder. the upper trigram K’an stands for the Abysmal , the dangerous. its motion is downward and its image is rain. The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; thunder and rain fill the air. but the chaos clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement eventually passes beyond the danger. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, and all things breathe freely again.”
Chaos is a scary thing, beginning something new is a scary thing. Challenging ourselves with new opportunities, new technologies, new knowledge is scary but rewarding, often leading us to new ways of thinking, new approaches to problems, and new strength.
To me this hexagram from the I Ching means lots of things and holds lots of good lessons for those heading out into the Library world:
Perseverance - Don’t be discouraged. Success doesn’t always come quickly, in this rapidly paced world we have to remember that time and fortitude can work in our favor.
Frustration and failure are teaching tools – Not all things can or will work out, but we can take knowledge from everything.
Input/Advising – Too often we can be tempted to work/be alone, especially when our work puts us alone in front of a keyboard. Seeking wisdom and guidance can turn a chaotic path into a clear one.
YOU pick the path – Seek advice and guidance from others but remember it’s your responsibility to chart your path.
Seek Chaos – Consistency and comfort for the sake of consistency and comfort will yield little gain.
So as not to be the cause of chaos (or add chaos and confusion for myself)…I’m going to break the rules and not tag anyone. If however, you feel “inspired” please feel free to self tag.
p.s. I also picked this image as it’s my one and only tatoo :-)