I’m posting these quotes as a continuation of my thinking process about what I see as a developing reactionary movement in librarianship. Not that there hasn’t always been a “let’s do it the old way” contingent in libraries, but I think it is perhaps more unified than in the past. I hate to be pessimistic and/or so centered on this very moment of the profession, but I can’t help but think that, like much of the information world, we’re at a crossroads. I’m not sure we’ll collectively choose the right direction. I hear about great things happening in some libraries, but I also hear about too many things similar to the quotes below. Once upon a time my jaw dropped when people would report things like this. Am I jaded now? As requested, I’ll protect the sources that have emailed me or passed these along in hushed tones in libraries and at conferences.
Where: A long range plan meeting.
Who: The library director.
Quote: (multiple times throughout the meeting): I hate computers, I hate computers, I hate computers.
Where: A library redesign furniture meeting.
Who: Adult Services staff.
Quote: (in response to the high table and stool combo being unusable for laptopping): We don’t want them to be too comfortable!
Where: An everyday conversation.
Who: IT staff.
Quote: (in response to installing Firefox on public computers) But then they would have a choice.
Where: Circ desk.
Who: Circ clerk.
Quote: (in response to a patron asked to place a reserve) Sorry, that’s not my job. [walks away]
I don’t think I need to comment on these quotes except to say that they’re so bad they’re caricatural.
Let’s not end the work week on a negative note. Michael Casey’s post It’s About Me, and You is about responding to disagreeable comments in meetings and it really resonated with me. Libraries won’t progress unless committed individuals stand up and respond to things that make them bristle. Now is the time for boldness.