Gavia Libraria

Building one another up

The Loon’s private individual goal in her current work—not her institutional mission, just her raison d’enseigner—is to see that her students and other protégés surpass her. Considerable evidence surfaced in the last week or so that this goal is at least sometimes handily met.

And after the Loon lets pass a momentary flash of envy, she honestly rejoices for her students, and feels satisfaction in her own (small, to be sure) role in building them up.

A short while ago the Loon caught up extensively with a professional acquaintance. It proved an entirely different experience. According to this librarian, competence in the library workplace and the profession at large is all but vanished, the local library school (not the Loon’s, but the Loon felt stabbed nonetheless) turns out nothing but useless dullards (this based on n=3), and so on and so forth for nearly every minute of the entire visit and the Loon feels dispirited just trying to remember all this so she will stop recounting it.

Another recent meeting with a semi-protégé from one of the Loon’s former workplaces produced a small epiphany for the Loon. This librarian recounted a recurring pattern of her chain of command looking solely for aspects of her work that they could criticize, never noticing much less praising or leveraging her (praiseworthy, the Loon hopes she need not say) very real skills, efforts, and worthwhile outcomes. The Loon verbalized this pattern as a pattern, and then the lightning struck. Oh. Of course. That workplace had treated the Loon in exactly the same way, barring (of course) differences in skillset between the Loon and her interlocutor.

It is so easy to tear people down. So easy. It is so hard to build them up, not least when that option hardly seems to be on the table.

The Loon has not earned the right to say this from a place of superiority, of course. Even here, she has not shied away from some fairly cutting behavior. From one well ensconced in the weeds, then: can we not try harder to disentangle one another?

2 thoughts on “Building one another up

  1. Lisa Hinchliffe

    I think this is very tied to the observations you have made about coordinators and other failures of libraries to appropriately staff and budget for what they claim they want to achieve. It is exhausting.