Of Policies and Committees

Because libraries serve as places of great books and other items with a staff of highly motivated, kindly people, they also remain places of deep thought. Since librarians spend most of their lives in libraries, they collect these thoughts and occasionally set them loose on the world or at least on interested library patrons.

This might sound exciting to some, but do not be deceived. A long time ago it was decided that no library thought was ever really ready to go out into the world until it had been discussed at length and given a Policy.

Back in those dark days, you see, everything needed a Policy for the world was a dangerous place full of chicanery and dark patches of wilderness. Policies were used to light the way through the unstructured chaos that was children’s storytimes, adult knitting clubs, and internet use with order, rules, and a list of procedures.

So it has been and so it always will be for even in this new enlightened Age of Library Reason and Increased Usage, Policies continue to maintain their positions as stalwart defender of the people, preserving the status quo and staving off programs that might be too fun for their own good. Every so often a librarian will do something new and another Policy will be born to take its rightful place among its brethren. And thus Pirates have Jolly Rogers, Hitchhikers have Towels, Dragons have Gold and Librarians have Policies.

An exciting or involved idea usually languishes for awhile as other daily tasks take priority over it. Then, slowly but surely, the idea is debated, evaluated, debated some more, researched to see if anyone else at another library has had the same thought and if so what happened, proposed to various branches and departments, discussed for a long time, and then it is ultimately debated again.

As a result, the process of beginning a new and unusual library-related task often goes a little something like this…

My other post will be up this afternoon, but I had to share the “Committee Song.” It is still awesome after all these years, and Babar the Movie will always have a special place in my heart.


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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One Response to Of Policies and Committees

  1. Carey Robin says:

    This is so hilarious and true. It’s like any passion you have for an idea is put through this process until you are so bored and exhausted you can’t remember what you wanted in the first place. Then after 58 compromises and version changes to your idea, something looking like a smashed peanut butter and jelly sandwich is put in front of you, and you are supposed to be excited to now run your program/idea/plan that isn’t actually your program/idea/plan. I wish my coworkers looked like these elephants though. That would at least make things a bit more pleasant.

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