Being A Librarian You're Going to Piss People Off


Letters to a Young Librarian
" I could talk about other times I pissed off parents with my collection development policy or about the time I told the area homeschool groups about our library's teen programs (which included a paranormal program that contradicted one group's very conservative beliefs) or about the time I quit a library job without a backup plan because the environment was not conducive to making me my best, personally or professionally. The thing is, no matter what role you're in and no matter how much or how little experience you have in the field, your beliefs and values are going to piss someone off somewhere.
To be as good as you want to be and to further your goals in providing the best service and experience as a librarian, you have to suck it up and stick to your beliefs.


My experience has been that people do not want to be told what to do, even if it is to comply with policy. For example, cell phones, food, loud talking, kids running. Sometimes I feel the monkeys are running the circus and I'M the bad guy for trying to maintain quiet and order in my library.

I think the best advice you can give a younger librarian is to do their best, seek out a mentor in the organization, listen to understand, try to find areas where you can agree, be flexible, learn that compromise isn’t defeat and to persevere for incremental change and improvement. Advising inexperienced staff to dig in and bolster a position of unyielding, steely resolve differs little from the behavior of our Republican controlled House. Granted there are lost causes and being able to identify them comes with knowledge and experience, something you won’t get unless you stick around for a while. It’s easier to fix a broken system from within.

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