In the last several weeks I’ve had quite a few conversations that, at their core, boil down to this notion:
As an administrator, my job requires that I make decisions based on the best interests of all the constituents that I serve, and all of their needs must be taken into account when I make those decisions. Also true is that I make better decisions, and our choices have better outcomes, when I hear from more sides of every story. But my job is to choose the path, to set the agenda, and to move forward in a direction, with intention. So sometimes I hear as many sides as I can access, and I think about the conflicting needs and costs, and I have to make a choice that prioritizes one over another. It’s just the way of it; there aren’t always obvious and easy answers. And so sometimes conversations end with me saying, “We’re both right. And depending on which one of us someone agrees with, we’re both wrong.”
Why am I writing this? Basically this second notion:
If you’re not willing to make decisions without consensus, overt approval from all stakeholders, and a clear and obvious “winning” option, don’t take jobs like mine. Being an administrator means making decisions that consider the broad needs of your organization, and those decisions are often hard ones, fraught with conflicting needs and opposing outcomes. Hard or not, uncomfortable or not, you need to be able to do it, own it, and back it up. If you can’t or won’t do that, you’re doing your library and your users a disservice.