This blog by Bill Drew the Librarian has been shared a lot by my peers in my 9005 Management class. As a group of MLIS students and aspiring librarians, I think this post strongly resonates with all of us. Among the may things we are taught in this program is to think creatively, be innovative, and share ideas but the points in Bill Drew’s post seems to suggest that the opposite often takes place in an actual workplace setting (we are no longer in Kansas, er….library school, anymore it would seem).
We talk about a lot of different issues in 9005 including workplace org culture, generational diversity, different personalities (we all did the Myers-Briggs test), and conflict resolution. While it may seem to many that learning how to properly catalog, do reference interviews or build a website may seem like crucial library skills we must all acquire, I think the skills learned in 9005 will be more beneficial to us when we get into the workplace and have to deal with some of the issues mentioned in Bill Drew’s post.
As I am nearing graduation and (hopefully) entering the workplace in the not-so-distant future, I hope that I am lucky enough to end up in a workplace that encourages out-of-the-box thinking, new ways of doing things, and allows new librarians room to grow but also learn from their more experienced peers. However, even in such an encouraging environment, you are likely to come up to people who do not like change and may butt heads with you if you propose something even moderately revolutionary but part of the challenge is learning how to communicate with your colleagues, compromise on how things should be done, and learn to listen to other people’s opinions and hope they can offer you the same courtesy. Of course I want to be taken seriously as I enter the workplace in a professional role but young millennials can’t just barge into a new workplace and expect that all their ideas will be listened to either. While it may be disheartening to know you are being stifled, it is important to try and stay positive and keep reminding yourself of why you got into librarianship int he first place (i.e. to help people, make information accessible, advocate for information literacy, etc.) and find your own way to have that positive impact. If you find you are not able to do that at your current workplace, then perhaps it is time to move on to a new institution who allows you to spread your wings a little.