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* Monday, April 10, 2006

The "Taking Issue with Absolutes" Librarian

I highly recommend you visit and/or subscribe to Rachel Singer Gordon's new blog, The Liminal Librarian [found via Tame the Web]. Rachel has always had interesting things to say, so I'm thrilled that only four years after I begged her to blog, she is finally doing it! :-p

Lately, Rachel's writing about Generation X librarians has really resonated with me, but she also appears to be tackling an issue that I'm starting to see crop up a lot lately, namely how we value and keep the most dedicated folks in our profession, regardless of whether or not their job description matches the stereotypical role of "librarian." Ask yourself what your library is doing to value your top staff (all of them, not just the traditional, stereotypical functionaries), to create a collaborative environment (especially between generations and between various job roles), and to let your employees color outside the lines a little in order to draw the big picture. In that context, does Rachel's writing resonate with you?

For example, I love this quote from Neither Fish nor Fowl nor....

"I was talking with Meredith at the CIL conference a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned several people (me, Michael Stephens, Jessamyn West) who no longer work in any particular library, yet still do work related to libraries. A few examples don't make a trend, but this is somewhat interesting. It's also interesting in terms of all the talk about upcoming retirements. Were I a library administrator, I'd start thinking pretty hard about what I could do to retain good people, attract good people, and prepare them to take over the zoo at some point...."

And wouldn't it be a horrible trend if these kinds of people started leaving the profession altogether. I think we've been pretty lucky that so many of our best and brightest are so dedicated to librarianship, regardless of their job titles. Someone recently asked me, "Can you have library 2.0 without librarian 2.0?" And that's kind of how this discussion feels to me... can your library provide the best possible services if you're not taking full advantage of your employees' strengths?

I look forward to reading, linking to, and contributing to Rachel's discussions on these topics!

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