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News, WebJunction Staff

Moving & Shaking as a subversive activity

By Jennifer | March 17th, 2011 | Comment?

Honored as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker this week, I’ve most certainly been reminded of all of the incredible people who have influenced me in my library journey. While I can’t possibly list and thank *everyone* who I’ve learned with, worked with or been mentored by, I can take this opportunity to urge you recognize how you yourself inspire those around you, whether or not you define it as “moving & shaking.”

Many years ago (nod here to my first mentor at St. Olaf), I was urged to read a book that taught me the importance of “learning how to learn.” Since then I have used Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s 1969 book, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, to illustrate how we, libraries and librarians, are very subversive in our ways.  We provide for our communities, an environment nurtured by collaborative and continuous learning and yet rarely are we *formally* recognized as teachers. You likely mentor your patrons, colleagues or friends, but rarely do you acknowledge yourself as their mentor. And I’m intrigued by the subversive interrelationship of mentoring and leadership and how so often leadership is developed unbeknownst to the leader. Take it from me, you may or may not accept it, but you are likely a leader in the work you do!

When crises emerge, when gaps are found, and when opportunities arise, members of the library community are called on to lead the conversation, to facilitate the information sharing and to model the learning. Whether library director or patron, student page or new board member, we are all agents of what I call “leadership as a subversive activity.”

So as you move through your work, I encourage you to reflect regularly on how you subversively “move & shake” your communities, and recognize how you teach, lead and mentor those around you. And begin now nominate those in the library community who should *overtly* be recognized as a 2012 Mover & Shaker!

I want to extend a special thanks to those who nominated me for this award and also to those who urged, “You should go to library school!” Their mentorship ultimately led me to this amazing job. Thank you *everyone* for the work you do and for the role you play as stewards of this WebJunction community!

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