The Lonliness of a Conservative Librarian ends “[W]e should welcome diverse viewpoints within our profession.” I’m sure it would suprise nobody to learn that I wish ALA was different too. So, I joined some committees, tried to keep my wisecracks in check, worked with people who I vigorously disagreed with in the name of getting things done and, to a certain extent, sucked it up that ALA wasn’t exactly like I wanted it to be, because I felt that I could help make it better. I was also aware that I got more out of ALA than I would gain professionally without it, so on balance it was worth the headaches, the fustrations and the cost. I re-evaluate this decision a lot but it’s one that I made consciously.
Everyone needs to make their own balance sheets about these sorts of things. I empathize with people who have strong enough political convictions that they feel like a paraiah, but it’s a big profession out there and the jerks, naysayers, trolls and halfwits [on all sides of the political spectrum] are a small small minority of the people you get to meet and work with. Not letting them get you down is a good part of public service work, as is learning how to not be that jerk in the first place. No one’s ever going to bury me with a headstone that says “She was polite” but I try very very hard to treat all my fellow professionals professionally and I think it’s a good place to start from.