Conviction

It’s always seemed to me that this is something many a librarian I’ve met has in spades, yet I seem to lack.  I’ve noticed especially of late that when I’m teaching or talking about something that I just don’t believe in (let’s say for example, a web resource that honestly doesn’t work as smoothly as it should) that I can’t convay the same level of  enthusiasm or belief that others can.  Is this a question of personal ethics – I know I’m trying to tell people a resource is great when at heart I don’t believe it myself?

I started out in sales, and there I certainly sold people things that I didn’t personally think were the greatest thing ever but I could sell them on them all the same.  I don’t feel it’s the same when it comes to information resources – they either work well or they work badly (or not at all).  It’s damned near impossible to sell the punters on things that are fracked up or fubar in the same way.  I lack the belief in them.  I lack the conviction.

Is there a solution to this lack of faith?  Lobbying for better resources? Refusing to train users in substandard products?  Or should we just tow the party line, keep calm and carry on?  I’d love a straight answer to that one.

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7 thoughts on “Conviction

  1. Ideally you should not have to lie or fake enthusiasm. However, if you decide you have to lie and fake enthusiasm temporarily to get a hold on your life, you might have to try your best.

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  2. But what if I’m paid to fake it? I think that’s the issue for me – I could sell snow to the eskimos if I deep down believed they needed it; but my personal ethics don’t allow it. I guess I wouldn’t last long in a high powered sales job – that’s for sure.

    Just as well I’m just a somewhat cynical librarian.

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  3. You shouldn’t have a job that requires you to fake enthusiasm unless you think it is necessary to get a hold on your life. There should be a good reason to have that kind of a job other than money for its own sake.

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  4. I think we are professionally obliged to be honest and impartial in our assessments of resources. Too much of what is called ‘information literacy teaching’ is trying to demonstrate how to navigate ineffective interfaces. I think we can commend a resource for its information content and not its interface or discuss its uselessness in context. I used to talk about how difficult it was to trace or access theses – the flaws of the sources were important to the critical process. Equally, we need to be realistic. I do not see any point telling people to use x database/resource when you can get better results from a simple Google search. It’s a prompt to change your collections.

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    1. Yeah, I was saying just the same in a workshop the other day – today’s students come increasingly clued up with interfaces and basic searching – what we need to teach goes beyond point and click and into the scholastic why.

      But convincing academics to let you have the time to actually teach stuff at this deeper level or engaging with the students when all they want to know is “How to pass this course” – now that’s the tricky one. Maybe something I’ll come back to in a later post.

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    1. Maybe I just Want to Believe too much in what I’m selling the kids genuinely is good for them? Having morals and ethics is damned tricky at times ;/

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