I had a library patron ask me today for a book on what qualities leaders look for in their followers... and I thought, huh?
I thought it was the followers who had requirements for their leaders.
How much say should leaders have in who chooses to follow them? I mean other than in the movie Tommy when Roger Daltrey sings, "If you want to follow me, You've got to play pinball."
So what should a Library demand from its followers? Do libraries deserve to be followed?
In the case of Follow a Library day, these leading libraries only ask for support. For a few moments out of one day.
So is that enough?
Like so many of us in this post-post-modern world, we question the very definitions of each established belief or ideal. What do libraries mean to us today? How can we say we are followers when so many of us don't even know what makes our libraries great?
The simple answer is that libraries are buildings and that libraries are people. Great libraries can be great in one or the other area or both.
But great libraries also need great followers.
About a week ago, I was talking to someone about an audiobook that I got from the library and I felt awesome that I was trying to sell the library and make it sound cool and useful. I got this from the library; the library has this stuff, check it out, I practically shouted.
So one quality of a great library follower is someone who will proselytize.
But then the next week I confessed to a coworker that if I didn't work at a library, I probably wouldn't use it that often. I had put something on hold at another branch that I never bothered to pick up because it was slightly out of my way. Minus ten points for hypocrisy.
And so another quality is loyalty and dedication.
Great library follows both use the services and spread the good word. They speak up when others disparage the role of libraries in the community as outdated and wasteful. Great library followers act and call others to action when libraries are in need.
So all I can think today, this Follow a Library Day, is that I need to become a better follower. Like many, I've often imagined myself a leader. And no, in my imaginary leadership role, you were not laughing.
But until that day when I can lead, in many other situations, I am a follower. And maybe a day like today reminds us that following is not simply a passive role we fall into, but sometimes and active role that chooses us.