Alchemical Thoughts

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Emerging Leaders time again

Posted on: May 28, 2008

If I have said it once. . .,  you get the idea. The library sector of the blogosphere is notorious for the little seasonal memes. The leadership meme is one of them. The one about ALA and whatever it is not doing for librarians is another. The Emerging Leaders program ALA runs is another of those memes: application time comes up. Someone puts up their reasons for not applying, and it will likely create a snowball effect. I am not trying to be less than serious, but this again another example of stuff that just comes around every year. If you don't believe me, here are a couple of things I had to say on the program a while back. It seems some things stay the same: there is some complaining, then it quiets down until the following year when it comes back again. Now, I am not going into the MLS versus non-MLS people debate that one of those posts is bringing up. I have my opinions, and I will keep them to myself. But the point about the program just being for the elite few who can afford conference attendance is certainly something to consider. Or not. Let's look at those requirements for the program, shall we?

  1. Be under 35 years of age or be a new librarian of any age with fewer than 5 years post-MLS experience, and
  2. Have a recent MLS degree from an ALA or NCATE accredited program or be in an MLS program currently, and
  3. Be able to attend both ALA conferences and work virtually in between each,
  4. Be prepared to commit to serve on an ALA, Division, Chapter or Round Table committee, taskforce or workgroup upon completion of program, and
  5. Be an ALA member or join upon selection if not already a member.

First of all, I am already a wee bit older than 35. I am going into my 4th post-MLS year (dang, how time flies). I did not apply last year. I sure as heck won't apply this year, and I probably will not next year. By then, I will have more than the 5 years of post-MLS experience, which will disqualify me. I guess by then I would not be worthy of learning whatever "wisdom" on leadership the organization wishes to impart on the select few. Next, well, I do have an MLS degree. No, I am not attending the conferences (too damn expensive. I could not go with a straight face to my boss and ask to get funding. Lack of funding being one of the reasons). Commitment to service? Yes, I certainly have that. Be an ALA member? That could be a problem. I have not renewed my ALA membership in a while, and from the looks of it, I probably won't anytime soon. In brief, time will probably pass me by, so to speak. Not really too concerned. I just wish the meme would simply go away.

I am not sure where my thinking is headed on this topic, which is why I am posting it here and not on one of the main blogs. Because I wonder if this more of the notion of leadership as either you have it or you don't. I do not find the idea of a "librarian pop idol" to be particularly appealing, but that is me (go look at the link and this will make sense). And in the end, it reminds me, once again, of one of the small notions of leadership I try to live by. This one by Lao-Tzu:

"Superior leaders get things done with very little motion. They impart instruction not through many words, but through a few deeds. They keep informed about everything but interfere hardly at all. They are catalysts, and though things would not get done as well if they were not there, when they succeed they take no credit. And, because they take no credit, credit never leaves them."

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