The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune

In about two weeks, the 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker edition will be released and the winners will be revealed. From my own experience, I can tell you right now that there are about fifty new Movers & Shakers who can’t wait to share this news with the world. For the moment, they have held onto the secrecy of their chosen status for the most part; they may told some friends, family, and work colleagues but otherwise have kept a lid on it. These are the Oscars of the librarian world if only for a lack of other high profile awards within the field. While the ALA Youth Media awards are of higher visibility and prestige to the public with prizes such as the Caldecott and the Newbery, they are (for the most part) given to people outside of the librarian profession. Beyond that, I would imagine the average librarian would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of awards given within the profession at a national level.

The topic of professional recognition is a well trod territory in libraryland. From my perspective, discussion has always been skewed towards the negative end. For every social meeting posting sharing the good fortune of an award that is met with celebration from friends and peers, there are an equal (if not greater) number of posts that question the existence of awards, the worthiness of recipients, and value of recognition in the field. Awhile back, I had a theory as to where this kind of ‘worthiness’ judgment phenomena came from. Now, my feelings lay somewhere between ‘human nature’ and ‘really, who cares?’.

If people want to invest their personal energy into this cosmetic issue rather than other pressing issues floating around libraryland, then all the power to them. I find now that I don’t have the energy to re-argue old discussions that will recycle itself over time, especially given how nothing is truly resolved and how quickly it can devolve to the petty level. It’s still educational to follow this topic as it reveals a lot about the personal character of the people who bring it up and how they address it. Although, to be honest, I find myself more disappointed than intrigued when I do; there is nothing flattering about watching people engaged in petty axe grinding.

To this year’s Mover & Shaker recipients, I offer my congratulations. You have earned this noble distinction on the basis of your own deeds and accomplishments. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.  I’m proud to call myself one and you should be too. Enjoy your moment in the sun.

Shine on.

PLA & Movers & Shakers

I’m off to PLA at the latter end of this week, but I wanted to congratulate the 2012 Library Journal Movers & Shakers that were revealed this week. I was pleased to see some familiar faces (Brett, Leah, Allen, JP, Nate, Nina, Emily, Richard, Allie) as well as looking forward to learning about the projects and causes of those I have yet to meet. I find that this particular Library Journal issue provides personal inspiration for new ideas, thoughts, and projects.

Once again, congratulations to the 2012 Movers & Shakers. And if you see me at PLA, stop me and say hi!

The Other Map to the Stars

Click to Embiggen

When I saw the graphic on the right in one of the latest copies of Library Journal, I thought about the Movers on the Map graphic from the March issue. It’s not exactly a scientific survey since Movers & Shakers do not create Star Libraries and vice versa; and the selection of Movers & Shakers is purely a human process while the Star Libraries are a calculated outcome. But I was curious to see how the two maps looked next to each other.

From a cursory glance of the top counts, it would appear New York and Ohio are the places that enjoy the greatest number of M&S people as well as Star Libraries. Kansas, Colorado, Illinois, and Massachusetts also enjoy a high number with a closer ratio than other states. After that,

It would be a bit presumptive to look at these states and say, “What is it that they are doing that other states are not?” I think it has the seeds for further inquiry, though, as there really could be something that allows the libraries to get the numbers they gather to be labeled as ‘star libraries’ and attract some of the most forward thinking people in the profession.

The easy counter to this premise is the ‘star library’ award only goes to those libraries that choose to participate and that as a voluntary nomination it means that not all libraries are represented. As to the Movers & Shakers, it requires the filing of nominations plus the judgment of the staff of Library Journal and other advisory members. In both instances, they are not true measures of the libraries in the field and the talent that exists within the profession.

Well, if someone gets more curious than I am, then I look forward to your results of a closer examination.

Now, I couldn’t help it, but when I was reading the latest issue online, I noticed something that seemed a bit off. It’s a page from the Placements & Salaries Survey, but something seems off to me about it from just a glance. Can you tell what it is from here? If not, click on the picture to see my marked up version in Flickr.Click to find out what I mean!