My assistant, Becca, whose smile usually warms a room, stumbled into my office - which is actually our office - and the look on her face was sobering. "What's wrong?" I ask. She then spit out words that I was fearing. "I got into grad school."
Becca isn't going to library school, even though I urged her to do so. She's getting her MFA in documentary film and she's going to kick ass and take names. I am so very proud of her. I am, however, freaking out because I'm going to have to replace her. Her job isn't easy. Apart from the unpredictable schedule and huge workload, she's also charged with making my life easier. So, even though I know this move is the best for her, I also realize it's a horrible thing for me. And I don't care. Because she's doing the right thing.
I, however, am a hypocrite. I preach all the time about change, and I do embrace it in my philosophies of how to run a library and organizational culture. However, if you move my stapler there will be dire consequences. That's what I'm talking about.
Library leadership needs to stop acting like change is difficult. As spokespeople for our communities, libraries should be a catalyst for change, not an institution that stumbles over innovative ideas. But we also have to be respectful of those who, for whatever reason, want change but whose hands are tied by others. It could be a board. It could be funders. However, that does not mean that you can't advocate for it.
But please, stop talking about the changes you're going to make and start putting your actions where your mouth is. Even if you're a mere victim of circumstance, you have to adjust. Of course, I type this in the midst of a panic attack from thinking about Becca leaving. Will I ever find someone who will learn where the stapler belongs?
I'll be at PLA next week and I hope you look me up! I'm doing the Virtual Conference and the regular conference all on Thursday. Beyond that, I'm just attending as many sessions as I can. I hope to see some of you there!