You're quite opinionated about wider library issues on your personal streams - do you think you should be?

I'm still doing the 'From the floor' posts, I'm just doing them so infrequently as to be virtually non-existent. I also don't do them in the order in which I receive them. It's sort of random-ish, depending on what's going on either personally and/or professionally. As we all know, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans (so said John Lennon). Just as a reminder, the 'From the floor' posts are where I answer questions some of you have sent me about why I do what I do with our work streams, or about social media in libraries in general. I figured that some of you might find this useful. And if you don't, no harm no foul. I'm not much of a one for disclaimers, however I want to reiterate that I'm not an expert. I'd probably get pissed at anyone who said they were. I am, as ever, a girl with a laptop, access to random thoughts and a fondness for cheap booze. Really cheap booze.

Query: You're quite opinionated about wider library issues on your personal streams - do you think you should be?
Quick answer: Yes.

More thoughtful answer: Hell, yes. I think all of us in libraries should be. Most especially if 1) it's valid and 2) it can make our profession stronger and more relevant and 3) gets us all talking about things collectively. I think it'd be arrogant of any library leadership in any region or country to believe they know everything or can answer it all. Not so strangely, this question pops up a lot in my email inbox, or when I'm delivering presentations to our staff about social media in libraries, or when I meet librarians/library assistants off of Twitter and/or Facebook for the first time.  Admittedly, never as blunt as I've voiced it here as this post title.  It's always phrased much more politely but the gist, I think, is the same: "Don't you think it's unprofessional to challenge your profession and question leadership?"

My answer is, "No, absolutely not." In my mind, questioning your profession or industry and holding its leaders accountable IS being professional. I believe, on one's own personal streams, it absolutely is ok. In fact, I think it's vital. If you're in a position to help change things for (hopefully) the better with opinions and thoughts then why wouldn't that be all right? Being critical isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've always been of the opinion that if the profession - and the systems people set up in it - are robust, it'll withstand scrutiny. And if it isn't, then consider it good feedback, and make it stronger, please and thank you. I would hope that our library leaders this year, next year, the year after, aren't afraid of dialogue, aren't afraid of criticism, aren't afraid of opinion and, more importantly, aren't afraid of us. The idea that we have no say in shaping our profession is unpalatable to me. So, yes, I'll continue to have opinions on wider library issues, thanks. I'd like to point out, though, that there is a huge difference between 'being critical' and outright 'slagging off.' And by that I mean, are you making your suggestions/taking your feedback to the people who can make the needed changes/tweaks? Or are you moaning just to moan? The day that I find I can't make suggestions, or can't help make what we do so much more relvant, is the day I change careers, and surrender to the sweet siren call of Burger King's uniform. So...would you like fries with that?

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