Airing of (Profession-Related) Grievances during #librarianfestivus [Part 2]

As the second part in a two-part series on the #librarianfestivus debate, this post analyzes the “effectiveness” of the Airing of Grievances during the Festivus holiday.  The first part of this series, on the comments shared during the debate itself, is found here.

As discussed in last week’s post, the Festivus holiday season gave way to a large session of the traditional “Airing of Grievances” by librarians over Twitter, using the hashtag #librarianfestivus.  During the whole event, one of the most remarkable topics discussed was, in an intriguing turn of events, how ineffective #librarianfestivus is as a communication tool.

As goodinthestacks noted, one of the prominent issues in the Festivus debate was the fact that, as my first post alluded, people complain about their jobs and overall profession a lot, especially on social media sites such as Twitter.  This is in addition to the general griping that occurs within the workplace itself, between friends and colleagues.

The #librarianfestivus debate did come off as rather whiny, in my personal opinion.  This was especially because of the lack of any kind of substantive suggestions on how to improve the general state of the LIS profession.  Further, the debate was dominated by a handful of vocal individuals, which made it difficult to distinguish valid comments from general workplace gripes.

Librarianry, in my opinion, hit the nail on the head with his post, which came days before the day on which Festivus is actually celebrated.  Whether his comment focuses on the general state of affairs in the LIS community, or the specific instance of #librarianfestivus, his point rings true.  Often, discussions on problems rarely cover any kinds of solutions, and the same was true of the #librarianfestivus discussion.  This was one of my main disappointments with the holiday.

My second disappointment was a general lack of coverage of the “Feats of Strength,” another part of the Festivus tradition.  Now when I say this, I am well aware that wrestling is generally not possible over the internet, nor generally condoned among professional librarians.  However, the idea of sharing grievances could have been supplemented by a sharing of successes within the world of LIS.

These modified “Feats of Strength” could have taken many forms, from librarians sharing their newest projects to discussions on such topics as the Emily Dickinson Archive, featured in a past blog post.  No matter what the feats would look like, they would have added to the general dynamic of #librarianfestivus, and could have made the whole event much more successful and effective.

Ultimately, #librarianfestivus provided a new and interesting look into the state of affairs in the LIS profession.  However, the general nature of the “Airing of Grievances” did not lend to any kind of constructive problem-solving, creating an ineffective dialogue that seemed to be more of the same complaining experienced generally.  Hopefully, future celebrations of Festivus by librarians will be more constructive, and will display both the bad and the good things happening in the world of LIS.

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