There is a crazy good discussion going on over at Will Unwound. In his latest post, Will defines the difference between a “leader” and a “manager” and asks readers which they would prefer to have as a boss. Leaders have been somewhat disparaged, although managers didn’t fare too well, either. Since I am relatively new to this profession (although not relatively new to life), this leaves me wondering about the current work culture in most libraries and has me feeling rather cynical about vision and change and thinking big.
And then there’s this: a great post on 21st Century Library Blog, Twenty-first Century Librarianship is Outside Your Comfort Zone, which provides excellent food for thought about how the inertia of status quo is kind of universally accepted as the comfort zone for libraries (with exceptions, of course). I’d have to say that the premise of this post is kind of supported by the comments on Will Unwound, and it’s probably true that many of those commenting over there would be fairly critical of this post, over here.
Which brings us to–Anythink. The renamed Colorado library, where a librarian is called a concierge. There are two comments on this post, and one of them is a complaint from a patron that thinks Anythink is too noisy, unlike a traditional, quiet library.
So…where are libraries going and how will they get there when almost everyone agrees that something must change going forward, but no one can agree on what that is and many seem to have disdain for the “visionaries” that are trying to define change or at least believe they can bring something to the table, while at least one user does not seem to want to leave the comfort zone of traditional libraries?
I think I’m beginning to see the crux of the problem. However…
Since libraries have managed to survive this long–and they have, necessarily, changed along the way–there must be an achievable balance somewhere between the idealism of the visionaries and the resistance of the realists that will satisfy the users and allow libraries to continue to thrive well outside of their current comfort zone.
Craziness. But craziness with a purpose, I hope.