Wednesday, May 31, 2006

How Librarians Get Along, or Ye Mores of Dragon Societie


People who are very bright, and assertive can do a lot of damage to each other, sometimes without meaning to. In order to get along, sometimes just in order to live with each other after arguments, there must be understood, if unspoken terms of proper behavior. Lawyers in court have rules of procedure. Librarians, especially law librarians, can be fully as argumentative. But we have no formal rules. How do we manage to get along?

It has occurred to me lately that it is a lot like a group of very dangerous animals, dragons, say, getting along together. I started thinking about this, frankly, regarding my teenage daughter. We are rather careful of each other, quite aware of how much we can hurt one another. Then, I realized that, on another level, this accounts for a lot of the cooperation in the law library community. We are kind to each other precisely because we are capable of being so dangerous to each other.

Lawyers don't have to go out of their way to "make nice" with each other. They have codified rules of procedure for their professional battles. Law librarians, on the other hand, have no such rules. We have to make overtures of friendliness and cooperation lest in vigorous argument, we ruin professional and personal relationships beyond repair.

Whatta ya think? Do anything for our reputation? Roar!

The shield with a heraldic dragon is from
www.grace-collection.com (I passed up all the fabulous dragon art on the web for something a little more traditional European).

8 comments:

Wendy Reynolds said...

I love this post! There's a large grain of truth in it. I sometimes shudder to think of the trail of destruction I leave in my wake when I get enthused about something.

Betsy McKenzie said...

Thank you, she says, smugly, sheathing her claws and puffing smoke merrily.

Steve Matthews said...

I've often thought Engineers have that iron ring, but what do we have? A code of conduct might help, or a secret handshake, or maybe unique Title for members of our profession?

Connie said...

Our need to network with one another forces us to play nice in many respects. In the law firms in my city at least, it is the librarians who work co-operatively compared to the other administrative groups. This is one of our strengths. Poisoning relations with colleagues is cutting off your nose to spite your face...it doesn't do any good in the end. And the more co-operative our efforts, the stronger we become.

Oh, and we have a secret password. Shhhh! Don't tell anyone.

Betsy McKenzie said...

Dear Steve,
I am intrigued by the desire for a secret handshake... Did you ever watch Monty Python? Do you harbor desires to form a group like the Masons? (Python fans will recall a skit about Masons and secret handshakes)

Dragons don't need secret handshakes, silly! They wouldn't say no to more respect and a bigger salary, though! Roasting a few HR knights in their silly little iron suits might fix that up. (Just kidding)

Jim Milles said...

Who needs a secret handshake? I've always relied on my remarkably keen librarydar.

Steve Matthews said...

The handshake was actually the only part I was joking about. :-) I'd love to have a secret decoder ring like the engineers.

Jim, How does that librarydar work anyway? Besides taking us dancing...

Betsy McKenzie said...

Ooh! Dragons are always into jewelry of any kind... secret decoder rings included.