They say: “Attitude is everything”. What is attitude? Attitude reflects the way we approach things. We can be positive, negative, enthusiastic, indifferent, and a lot more. Our attitude is affected by the situation around us, being environment, people’s behavior, challenges, etc. It is also affected by us. We can allow ourselves to dwell inside the negative territory or find ways to make things better. What does that have to do with librarianship?
Librarians, like all professionals, deal with a number of challenges. In fact, in our times librarians deal with a lot of challenges, especially because of the cut-downs. Three factors, in my opinion, make a library what it is: The board, the community, and the librarians. There are many examples of boards that don’t function the way they are expected, which is to contribute to the development of their library and community. Only the community can change that, which brings us to the second factor. The community may or may not be supportive of the library, may or may not be educated or willing to become educated, may or may not face challenges of any kind. A professional who can change that is the librarian, which brings us to the third factor.
Librarians, regardless of the positive or negative contributions by the other two factors (board and community), are the library. They are the people who can raise the bar, even if this is a tiny bit at a time. To go back to my introduction, if the librarians allow themselves to dwell into the negative territory created by a board with hidden agendas and a challenging community, then the library will never be able to rise to the expectations set by its very existence and by the concept “librarianship”. Recognizing the problems and trying to correct them is a noble thing to do. Overemphasizing the problems, get the nagging going, and doing nothing to make things better is what makes the situation worse. Excuses for not fighting the challenges sound like: “This is the so and so library. What do you expect us to do?” If a librarian feels that way, maybe it is time for a career change.
Part of the pride of being librarians is the fact that we can change the world with the right attitude. If certain individuals in our profession do not understand the above statement, then they don’t belong among the rest of us.