Staying posi: How I learned to care in a different way.

STAY POSI!, originally uploaded by

I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry that 95% of my cultural references are either from punk or soccer. It’s really all I got. Today it’s posi.

This post was inspired by this LSW FF discussion which was inspired by this Agnostic Maybe blog post. What started about “third-rails” of libraryland sort of veered into a discussion of the need for recognition and attitudes.

I used to joke that I felt like Rodney Dangerfield – I get no respect. It’s been like that for a lot of my life though. I am often one of the people who show up early, stay late, setting stuff up, making sure things work. I always volunteer for stuff. Recently I had to ask myself why I do this work what I hoped to get out of it. After some serious reflection, I recognized an attitude adjustment was in order and now I’m trying to carry it through.

See, I really wanted to be an SLA Rising Star. I don’t hide how much I respect SLA, and as such do spend a lot of time and energy for the association. I’m also relatively fresh on the scene, so I thought I would be a shoe-in for the Rising Star award. Hell, I felt entitled to it. And that’s where I was foolish and immature. I didn’t get the award in 2010 or 2011. What made my work more special than anybody else’s? Why was I entitled to anything? Truth of the matter is that I wasn’t, so it was arrogant of me to assume that they would just recognize how awesome and hard working I am for SLA.

Shortly after they announced this year’s winners, I was talking about my expectations and assumptions with an SLA veteran who reminded me that these awards aren’t why we do things. Yes, recognition is nice, it feels good, but that’s not why we’re in this game. I’m a librarian to help people access and use information. I’m involved in SLA to help the profession. I do these things because I think I should do them for the greater good and I enjoy that, and if I keep expecting adulation and lots of accolades, I’m going to be bitter, angry, and resentful.

So at that moment I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would not worry whether or not others recognize me as a great librarian or somebody who’s glamours and awesome. I would really say no to the sill rock star mentality. Instead I’m just going divert that nervous energy to being the transportation librarian I want to be, be the change I think we need, and embody my ideals to the fullest.

This is sort of in line with my new philosophy about collaboration as well, which I’ve also talked about. I will be a team player who compliments others, rather than the superstar who might try to overshadow or hog the limelight. I just want to do good work and help others do the same. If you feel like patting me on the back, I won’t say it’s not appreciated, but I’m not expecting it.

As I said in the LSW thread, “2011 is about execution and growth. That’s my mantra”







5 responses to “Staying posi: How I learned to care in a different way.”

  1. eileen Avatar

    Consider yourself patted. You’re one of those people who always seems to have more than 24 hours in her day, and from what I see, you use every one of them.

  2. Million Avatar


    Here’s my take. It’s one thing to be recognized as a wunderkind. It’s quite another to retire with years of experience and the respect of your peers.

    Case in point? We both know someone who has a history of pissing people off but is still respected. Precisely because of years of service. Thinking of him, that’s worth more than any bullshit award.

    Truth be told, I’ve got that same Millennial mindset. I’m always trying to do my best, and sometimes it sucks not to feel like you’re getting anything out of it.

    Then again, luck and chance happen to us all. If you were the Chair-elect-elect of any Division other than Transportation, you’d be a shoo-in. Just keep giving ’em hell.

  3. […] So can we just stop talking about age? I don’t care if you’re 24, 36, 42, or 63 — I care that you’re a supportive, engaged, effective librarian serving your users and your profession with dedication, creativity, and your own personal style.  I don’t care if you succeeded or failed — I care about what you did next, and how you did it.  And I would love to see us debate more than whether or not The Kids Are Entitled Shits or The Boomers Are Stubborn Bastards.  Go debate about where the big conversations in librarianship are happening (or make them happen!). Or about Harper Collins and Libraries and why we already lost.  Or about women and leadership in our feminized profession.  Or about doing good work because it’s rewarding, not because you get rewarded. […]

  4. Tara Avatar

    You’re a total rock star librarian. Like Iggy Pop waiting to get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

    Seriously, I can’t believe you aren’t a Rising Star. All I can think is that too many of us know how much you’ve contributed to SLA already and forgot that you haven’t been around that long. I hope you’ll keep it up!

  5. […] I was mildly prepared for having accepted becoming mid-career. See, long ago… I gave up expectations or dreams of getting awards for my work because it was inherently selfish and lead to disappointment. I engage because I value those […]

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