Kelly Clarkson is singing that to me right now. And she’s right. I don’t give up. Lots of the people I admire don’t either. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
And yet. In the last 72 hours I’ve heard the following stories from librarians I like, respect, admire, and love:
- An administration that said “hey, now that you’ve accepted the Interim Position, we wanted to be sure you knew we aren’t planning to hire a replacement permanent person for approximately 2 years. Hope that’s cool with you.”
- An administration that has started forwarding job ads for Library Director positions to the in-house candidate they actively discouraged for applying for their own leadership position.
- An administration that’s pouring travel money into a librarian that they rejected for their in-house leadership search.
- An administration that’s essentially ignoring a mid-level manager’s need for support, even though she’s been in the profession for less than 5 years.
Those are four prime examples of some of the problems we have in library leadership.
- We suck our hard workers dry, and can’t understand why they turn into dust in the wind.
- We undervalue what we have in-house, and respond badly to open expressions of ambition.
- We compensate for our perceived failings in strange and valueless ways.
- We forget that our really remarkable new librarians are still new librarians.
You know what? None of those things will kill any of us. And they’re likely to make us stronger. But most people who live in these environments are going to decide to be stronger somewhere else, where their strengths are appreciated, where their goals are supported, and where their needs are acknowledged and met.
Just something to think on.