A Moment of Clarity

The American Library Association recently tweeted an article about an outreach program the Chicago Public Library is doing.

Literacy at the Laundromat” by Joseph P. Williams. Published by U.S. News & World Report, December 25, 2018.

CPL is offering story times in laundromats. I had two thoughts immediately upon reading this:

  1. What a wonderful idea!
  2. I would never come up with an idea like this.

I’m not a creative person. I love ideas but I’m not someone who dreams them up very well. I’m not much of a visionary in that sense.

This offered a moment of clarity for me. It helps me articulate what I really want to accomplish in my career.

I want to help make good ideas happen.

I want to be someone who can remove obstacles, rally support, gather resources, and create the freedom visionaries need to pursue their ideas.

I’m also very good at exploring ideas: delving into them, imagining what it would be like if an idea succeeds, anticipating how they might fail. I want to be in a position to help decide which ideas we should pursue.

Early on in my graduate studies, I knew librarianship was the right career for me because I could see myself as a director someday and the thought of it excited me. I can still see it and it still excites me. But I wonder sometimes—it seems to me the director of any organization needs to have a vision and I’m not much of a visionary.

My goal is to work up to a position where I can have an active role in recognizing the vision of others and the authority to make those visions happen on a system-wide level. Maybe that means a directorship, maybe some other kind of administrative role.

The thought of helping visionary librarians realize their ideas is what truly excites me. That will be a career well spent.

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