Friday, January 04, 2008

Us vs. Us

A colleague... No, a friend said to me the other day, “What problem is Betsy causing now?” Which greeting (thank heavens!) was followed by, “But you have a good heart” This friend has been in the AALL leadership, and I had no doubt about the “problem” referred to: My blog postings and comments on the law-lib-dir-l listserve about AALL and vendor relations.

When we end up calling each other trouble-maker, I think AALL has a problem. I was talking with another librarian the other day about the difference we see in customer service between IT and libraries. One of the comments was that the IT people seem to get so focused on managing software and hardware that they don’t look at managing the peopleware. And this leads to an us vs. them attitude, a feeling that the users are the enemy, and everything would run smoothly if they could just get rid of the people.

Wait a minute! The people, the users are the reason for the software and hardware, and for their work. The same is true of AALL. It is a member organization, and the entire purpose is to support and serve the law library community. When we – the leadership at AALL or the membership at AALL end up viewing the other half of ourselves as THE PROBLEM, our organization is doomed.

I include myself in this wake-up call. Let’s be careful here. This is not an argument about us vs. them. This discussion should be carefully kept on a level where we say, “We have a problem, let's solve it together” not “You are the problem.”

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