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Open Letters to My Peers: Young and My Age

Back in April and May 2008 I wrote a couple of open letters to my peers – new and old. I often think of myself as middle aged but this year I’ll need to live to be 114 for that descriptor to fit.

Roy Tennant has recently written a couple of letters to the generations in libraries that are quite wonderful. Here they are:

An Open Letter to Long-Time Librarians Library
by Roy Tennant, Feb. 22, 2011

An Open Letter to New Librarians Library
by Roy Tennant, Feb. 18, 2011

I reviewed some old columns on the same topic that I wrote for Information Outlook in 2008 as president of SLA. I think they stood the test of time so I thought that it might be useful to re-post these since there seems to be an emerging discussion about the generations being at odds in librarianship. That’s sad to me.

An Open Letter to My Boomer Peers
Information Outlook, April 2008 Issue
by Stephen Abram

An Open Letter to My New Peers
Information Outlook, May 2008 Issue
by Stephen Abram

So read them and agree or disagree. If you can’t make a positive contribution to the world of libraries in the context of any point in your career, then maybe you need to be refreshed, revitalized or retire. It’s not tied to money. Smiles are free and so are a lot of little things like advice and being supportive of our peers. I graduated from library school into one of the deepest recessions since the 30’s along with high inflation and mortgage rates playing havoc with the employment picture. It was a struggle but I survived and thrived and I know everyone can. There have been many recessions in the past decades since 1980 and, sadly, there will be more. The winners keep a great attitude and work towards the future and behave in ways that attracts others to them. Work with your colleagues at work, connect online and participate in associations. We need eachother right now, not inter-generational conflict. Lead.

Anyway, I don’t think I could ever lead, participate in or exit any strategic planning exercise in libraries, where the threat to the long term health of the library and the profession was from


the profession, and come up with a worse strategy than to start turning inward and blaming our peers for the problem. Internal warfare is the last solution and quite against the culture I’d like to see in libraries.

Enjoy the viewpoints that Roy and I share in this post.



Posted on: February 22, 2011, 4:29 pm Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Stephen, Somehow I had missed those letters the first time around, thanks for reposting them. You have a lot of good advice there for both generations of professionals.

  2. Tom Rink said

    Thank you Roy and Stephen! Great letters and wonderful information/reminders.