I went to a library workshop the other day. It was kind of interesting, but I had such a feeling that the community of librarians is still closed off to me, that going to the workshop is like knocking on a door, and I'm going to have to keep knocking on a lot of doors before I find a way in. It seems overwhelming.
In other areas of my life, it seems like I am surrounded by open doors. There are just so many possibilities I could pursue. It's frustrating that the limits of time and energy mean that I can only seize a small fraction of the opportunities
But you know, it wasn't always like that. There are two communities that I'm a part of which seem to be full of open doors, beckoning me. But when I first tried to join these two communities, I felt like I did at the library workshop: like I was knocking on doors and not finding a way in.
One community that I'm in I'll call the local community. Most of the people in the community are in my city. Some live in neighboring towns, but the community's focus is really in my city. But this community that I'm part of is not everyone in my city. It's generally people who care about things like sustainable living, organic gardening, renewable energy, building community, etc.
I think it was almost 3 years ago that I started knocking on doors for this community. I joined one particular group. I liked it, and yet I felt like I was looking for something more. I wanted to get involved in something, but I didn't know what. Then I joined another group. It was when I joined this second group that things really opened up. This group offered me lots of ways to get involved. Also, it opened the doors to the rest of the community. The way I see it, there are about a dozen organizations that make up this community. Different people have different interests, so they participate more in one organization than another, but the people in these organizations are all so inter-connected that it seems to me that it's all one community. And now I'm inside the walls of that community, so that I can see what's going on, I can see the many opportunities available to me.
The other community that I'm part of is the folk community. This is more of a regional community, not focused in my city. About 13 years ago was the first time I joined a group in that community. As happened more recently when I joined the first group in my local community, I felt like I wasn't in the door yet. I joined the one group, but the group did not have a good use for me, and it did not open me up to the related groups. I moved on from there to join another group, then another, then another. Now I finally have what I was looking for. I'm in one group, but being in that group shows me many doors to other things. I can think of 8 groups that make up our folk community. As is the case with my local community, different people are more active in one or the other group, but there is a lot of overlap between the groups, and it feels like it is all one community that makes these 8 organizations happen. As is the case with my local community, when I joined my first organization, I felt like the community was still closed to me, but now the whole community has opened up to me, and I see far more opportunities open to me than I have the time and energy to pursue.
So if the library community feels closed to me, don't despair. It takes time. It's like each community is a walled castle, and you walk all around the outside of the castle wall knocking on it, trying to find a way in. But once you get in, everything inside the castle wall opens up before you.
So, that may be the case in this situation. On the other hand, the local community and the folk community are grassroots organizing. Librarian is a profession. You have to get a job to be part of it.