OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“The most difficult yoga positions can be achieved after years of practice with great emphasis placed on building not only strength in your arms and legs, but your core.”

According to the article I linked to above, one of the most difficult yoga positions is the Scorpion. That is not the position pictured in the image; however, you can view the pose here.

I can’t confirm that designation because I don’t do yoga (although I would like to start). But the image of a difficult position lends itself well to this post.

What I can confirm is this–I work with some amazing, talented, and supportive people. I turn to them frequently for insight, perspective, and advice. Today I had substantive conversations with three of them, and they didn’t disappoint.

In the course of one of these conversations, I was asked the following question, “I know you don’t want to remain in your current job, but if you could have your position of choice within the organization, what would it be?”

That’s a fair question, particularly when posed to someone like me who is constantly lamenting the fact that I can’t break out of my role as a cataloger. What is my end goal? What do I want to be when I grow up?

My first answer was, well, I’m not sure. I don’t know exactly what position I want to hold. As I’ve thought about it since, I think I answered in that way because there is currently no library position, exactly, that I strive to achieve.

When I look at library job openings (academic, public and special), I always see the same positions listed: circulation, reference, technical services, emerging or integrated technologies, manager of one of the above, director/administrator, subject-specific librarians, youth services, instructional support, electronic services and Web resources, IT, information literacy, archivist…

There is nothing wrong with any of these positions. They are all important, necessary, and essential. But as far as I know, none of them are really new. These positions in libraries have been around for a long time–some longer than others. With tight budgets and limited staff, I suspect that maintaining and filling these essential positions is difficult in and of itself.

But where’s the creativity? If funds and staffing were not at issue, what positions would you add to your library if you could? What additional staff with a new and non-traditional focus would you bring on board? What ground-breaking, dedicated positions would energize your library or library-driven organization and move your staff forward into new, uncharted territory? Often, many of these undefined but integral, soft job skills fall under the umbrella of the duties assigned to the library director or administrator. And one person cannot possibly be the sole driving force behind an acceleration of forward momentum. It takes a village to raise a library.

This recent article really resonated with me–The 5 most dangerous creativity killers as tweeted by Sally Pewhairangi at sallyheros.

“Most (impediments to the creative thought process) can be made on the managerial end, meaning we may be stifling our creative workers without even realizing it.” The five creativity killers identified are as follows (Please read the article for the full explanation)-

  • Role mismatch
  • External end-goal restriction
  • Strict ration of resources
  • Lack of social diversity
  • Discouragement/no positive feedback

So, if one can’t add new and diverse positions to the library staff menu, then at the very least, one could empower more staff to think and act creatively without impediments. However, if one could add new and diverse positions to the library staff menu –to the village–these are some of the positions that I would add-

Chief Communications Officer: Making sure everyone is in the know

Chief Bullshit Meteorologist: Predicting, forecasting, and squashing bullshit in its tracks

Goodwill Ambassador: Playing nice with stakeholders. Listening, responding, and learning.

Blogger-in-Chief: No explanation necessary.

Coordinator of talent, skill sets, and tasks to be completed: Making sure the best-suited people are working on the right projects.

Discontent monitor: Taking the temperature of the group and adjusting the thermostat when necessary.

In short, the most difficult position in the library or library-centric organization may be the one not realized. The positions that act as arms and legs and build strength through service are important, but the positions that could serve to strengthen the core of the mission are perhaps the most essential and maybe the ones most often overlooked. This function–to strengthen the core–usually falls on the shoulders of one individual–the one at the top. How can the person at the top possibly support the entire weight of the organization that lies beneath?

A strong organization is able to sustain difficult positions. How that is accomplished depends upon the creativity and flexibility exhibited on the mat and on the willingness of both students and instructor to push their limits.