Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Square Pegs in Round Holes

I think libraries are full of people who feel like they are square pegs in round holes. The world is not kind to us. Guys who are sweet and kind. Women who just aren't cut out for Suzy home-maker. Those of us who don't quite fit our gender roles as our society defines them. And all of us who are defined, defined, defined by the color of our skins or the texture of our hair, our height, our weight, our stutter, our deafness --- geez, all of us just want to be the person we are.

And somehow, libraries have been like safe harbors in a lot of ways.

Libraries make a safe place, and an interesting place for people to work who might not like working at GE or the mall or Dewey, Cheatem & Howe. It seems to me that libraries thrive because they offer this safe harbor and intellectually stimulating work, and accept a broad range of people.

There is a real strength in having a variety of people. Our strengths complement one another. In many workplaces, there is a there is a tendency to hire clones of the boss, and everybody looks and acts the same. In workplaces like that, everybody has the same strengths and the same weaknesses. In libraries, we really do work together, like an interlocking clockwork, where one piece pushes as another piece pulls, and it makes the whole go around.

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