Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Welcome, Mr. Gomez!
For most of us senior librarians and Central Library staff, today was the first day we clapped eyes on Martin Gomez, our new City Librarian. After the short business portion of our bimonthly adult information meeting, our interim City Librarian introduced Mr. Gomez, who gave us a brief overview of his career and made it clear that he was eager to get started.
He stressed that, while he isn't a person who thinks up ideas on his own, he is very aware and receptive of great ideas that others come up with, both in other library systems and in our own. Mr. Gomez then said he welcomed our ideas and suggestions - this gave me a spark of hope and gladness, which was immediately dampened by the irrepressible thought, "I've heard that before." The last time a well-meaning library director told us that, it turned out that in fact we'd get in trouble if we communicated in any way but up through the chain of command - and we all know the problem with that. Invariably, the suggestion (or complaint, as the case may be) gets stuck somewhere at a lower level and never does reach the City Librarian at all, or in a very watered-down form.
Still, I was impressed by Mr. Gomez's down-to-earth demeanor and his slightly awkward sense of humor (because I don't trust a librarian who is too polished!), as well as his emphatic statement that he is looking forward to leading us - which is exactly what we need. And he pointed out that he brings to LAPL a wider national and even international perspective, gleaned from his time as director of the Urban Libraries Council. Excellent - we've been a provincial system for far too long. So - hopefully he really will solicit staff opinions, suggestions, and advice.
Because I dashed out after his speech to snag some pastry and fruit before heading back up to my office, I was one of the first folks at the reception and thus one of the first folks to shake Mr. Gomez's hand. I told him I was from Children's Services and that I had read he was a big proponent of youth services, as proven by his efforts on behalf of out-of-school-time programs. I then gave him a huge grin and a major thumbs-up, and moved on. What I really wanted (as I'm sure we all did) was to take him off for coffee, cake, and a light conversation about some of the issues facing LAPL - and which should be tackled first.
But - he seems like an extremely savvy, experienced library administrator and I'm sure he'll be able to see for himself where both our strengths and our weaknesses lie. But if he wants any input - and creates a good, safe way for us to give it to him - then I'll be happy to offer my $.02!
Posted by Eva M