It’s official! Our Good Witch is leaving the Emerald City to take up residence in Lotus Land. We wish her well. Apparently it’s not all a bed of roses in LL but then again, this Witch has a bookmobile full of experience after dealing with shenanigans in the Emerald City. But I digress. She will be missed, and more importantly how will she be replaced? She is the only one of her breed (MLIS-accredited) in the upper echelons of the City. Now what? Who will the Wizard go to for guidance and knowledge on all things bibliomatic? There is no one left to lead the City. OF course there are the pretty boys in suits with their monkeys. Which leads this ranter to the following question:
Why do the information professionals and librarians in the regions surrounding the Emerald City continue to believe that the Wizard and his munchkins take on the mantle of leadership? Because that is what a national institution and its key people is supposed to do isn’t it?
Leadership – let’s look at this for a moment shall we. Taking the cheap and easy way out – Here’s part of the Wikipedia entry for Leadership – “Alan Keith of Genentech said Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” Extraordinary, eh?
Further down is what I found to be directly applicable – the difference between leaders and managers/administrators. Where do our friends in the Emerald City fit?
- Ask how
- Focus on systems
- Do things right
- Rely on control
- Have a short term perspective
- Accept the status quo
- Eye on the bottom line
- Emulate the classic good soldier
- Ask what or why
- Focus on people
- Do the right things
- Inspire trust
- Have a longer term perspective
- Challenge the status quo
- Eye on the horizon
- Are their own person
- Show originality
So WHY do the information professionals, and not just in the Emerald City, but across this entire country, have any confidence that the Wizard is going to take on the mantle of leadership about libraries and information centres and speak truth to power anywhere to anyone? School libraries are pretty much history across most of this country. The economy means fewer taxes to support public libraries at a time when public libraries are bursting with clients demanding a gazillion services. For some reason there is some pandering and fawning by the academic librarians; while the special libraries that are not federal government just don’t give a hoot as they work to justify their existences to bean counting managers.
Librarians/information professionals in this country need to accept the truth that the Wizard isn’t going to come out from behind his curtain. We need to find ourselves another champion.
And the key problem with this lack of - what is it that the Government’s University calls it now – “talent management” – the key problem is that the Emerald City won’t seek out the “talent” they have under their noses and develop it. They’d rather hire “managers” than work and develop trained, experienced, professionals with potential.
This is worrisome to many both inside and outside the Emerald City. The Good Witch is leaving. And it is sad on so many levels. It is fully expected that some “manager” (more than likely in a pretty suit) will take the post because goodness knows the information professionals can’t be mentored, coached or even taught how to be pretty in suits and keep the curtain closed on the Wizard. Extraordinary indeed!
And to the Good Witch: Wave your wand and use your magic wisely in Lotus Land.
(The comments above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CASLIS Ottawa or the Canadian Library Association.)