Welcome to your professional frustration

October 5, 2007

Yesterday, I walked into the brick wall that was the realization that many of the projects I want to work on at the Northern-most library I might not get to work on. It’s frustrating because I thought I would be able to get a lot of things off the ground and I got excited and invested in that, and then it turned out that the library’s promises of being interested in making themselves more 2.0 and integrating social networking services into their world was not on the level. They do seem to want to do those things, but they don’t trust me to guide them, and that’s the worst part, because that’s obviously the major reason they hired me. Right now, we’re working up to a committee, and I hate committees but that doesn’t mean they can’t still help us get things done. If it takes three months for everyone to talk to death the idea of a blog but then we still get a blog, that’s ok. We get the blog! I’m just afraid there will be lots of talking, and then lots of backing down.

Every Library 2.0 handbook and guide advises me on what to do when I’m met with reluctance, and honestly, it’s not like I expected to walk in the door here and have the whole staff on Twitter by the end of my first day, but the problem I’m facing is that no one seems to want to admit – or acknowledge – their reluctance. I can’t help them face their fears of social networking tools if we can’t talk about it.

So I’m proceeding slowly and with determination, but I can’t help feeling that I’m a digital librarian in a library that is a few years from being able to embrace digital culture, and maybe I’m here to help them move closer to that point, but in the meantime, frustration and I are going to get to know each other really well.

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4 Responses to “Welcome to your professional frustration”

  1. Sam Says:

    Hmm. Sounds like that is going around. I’ve been chronically irritated of late with work, and I’ve realized it has to do with the complete non-moving nature of it these days. People keep pretending we’re “in transition” but really we’re not. We’re still hashing out the same old crap, and no one will admit that. My boss’ answer to everything is “COMMITTEE!!” and then it takes months to get the damn thing together and lots and lots of talking and nothing ever moves forward. There is nothing that makes me want to slap people with angry trout more than people pretending they are “on board” with an idea when really they are banging holes in the ship.

  2. thedonofpages Says:

    Talk is cheap. That’s why we have committees. Wouldn’t it be easier to slap people with a dead trout instead of an angry trout? Nothing ever happens until some manager allocates the funding for the project. Managers don’t fund a project until they believe in the project. Managers don’t believe in a project they don’t understand. Managers don’t understand the project because they are too busy to learn. Maybe somebody else can learn for them, but then the manager has to trust that one person’s judgement. Better to get the recommendation of several persons such as a committee. Unfortunately the committee doesn’t say this will save us lots of money, so the manager holds off on the project until it will. Managers expect you to solve cost problems by thinking outside the box, because they can’t think outside the budget. Quality is not cost effective, so the project is too poorly designed to work reliably. Even if it will work, the manager won’t believe it works until someplace else does it. Someplace else won’t do it because they also have managers. I work at the library not just for the money, but especially the entertainment. I get to see the projects flop, but am too lowly to get blamed for it.

  3. David Bgwood Says:

    If you have any control over the meetings, there are some things you can do to make them much quicker. Reduce the comfort. No snacks or drinks provided. No chairs, folks have to stand till the meeting is over. No electronics, leave phones, laptops, etc. outside.

    More ideas at:
    http://www.43folders.com/2007/10/01/field-reports-guerrilla-office-tactics

  4. SEO Says:

    very nicely done article, thank you.


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