In the End I Want to be Able to Say I Contributed More Than I Criticized

I don’t know if it’s the economy or the time of year but lately it seems like there is a lot of negativity going around, so last week when I saw this tweet from Jan Holmquist linking to this post, contributions, criticism and courage,  it really struck a chord with me.

I am by no means a perfect person, but I try.  I think a lot about what my goals are here, online and around libraryland. Sure there are some things happening in libraryland I don’t care for, that I think are a waste of time, that are poorly thought out, but I bite my tongue. I made a decision not to speak ill of other professionals, not to disparage the work of others just because I don’t agree with them, or because I don’t think its important or because I don’t get it. Let me tell you, sometimes I almost bite my tongue clean off not saying anything. But, in the words of mothers everywhere, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.

At the end of the meeting, of the work day, of the day, of the year I what do I want? I want to share the amazing work others are doing, to help and be supportive, to help others feel good about themselves and their work and be successful. I want to share and I want to learn and I want to work with (not against) others to make libraryland and libraries better places.


  1. That is a really great sentiment and mantra Bobbi. I think it creates the best environment, whether among other librarians on social media and blogs or among colleagues in your workplace. Instead of thinking about what is wrong with someone’s idea, we should be thinking about what can I do to help them improve their idea and make it work better. What can I contribute to the meeting or discussion instead of what can I tear down. If people act from a spirit of genuine contribution then the environment is much more conducive to people being vulnerable and proposing new ideas.


  2. You can never go wrong taking the high road. Good for you, and keep up the amazing contributions you’re making to the profession.


    1. Thank you Jenny!


  3. I have been doing this a lot lately. Sometimes I’ll write a reply and then delete it just so that I feel like I’ve had my say, but I don’t contribute to the negativity. It’s a challenge (especially for someone like me who likes to talk), but I’m pretty proud of myself all things considered. Even if it means that I never quite get the chance to tell certain people that perhaps they should not be presenting or lecturing on something they have no real world experience with.


    1. Elizabeth that’s a good idea! I probably have an opinion about just about everything and sometimes holding it in is hard, preparing responses even if I don’t post them would make me feel better and probably make me better prepared for real discussions.


  4. […] when people are proposing new ideas, listen first instead of criticizing. Bobbi Newman shared an excellent sentiment recently about contributing more than criticizing and it very much applies here. I know at times […]


  5. […] Librarian by Day: In the end I want to say that I contributed more than I criticized […]


  6. […] steered clear of ALA discussions on this blog for several reasons including the contribute/criticism approach and I tend to agree with the thoughts of Abby the Librarian (ALA is Not Your Mom), but a […]


  7. Bobbi, I have to say, this is brilliant. 🙂 And it’s nice to see that you are indeed human – because you know, with all you do, I sometimes wonder! 😉

    Seriously, I came to the same realization myself about ~6 or so months ago when I began to feel that until I became more active in my profession, I needed to lay off on the being angsty to the extent that I had been in the past. My goal became if I was going to criticize anything in the profession, I would do so with at least one solution at hand to present as an alternative point of view. Sometimes I falter, but I’m pretty proud of how I have reigned myself in.

    This is also why I get a little embarrassed when fellow librarians #ff me specifically for being a librarian on Twitter – I work 10 hours a week and haven’t DONE anything yet! 🙂

    Anyho, I will be writing about this topic on my own blog sometime in the near future but I did want to make sure to tell you first this hit the mark on the head of which I’ve been thinking about for ages. 🙂


  8. […] draws attention. One of my colleagues reminds me often, because I’m a terrible critic, that it’s easier to criticize than to create. It’s easier for most of us to rest on our asses and throw punches at other librarians who […]


  9. […] In the End I Want to be Able to Say I Contributed More Than I Criticized […]


  10. […] also mentioned the contribute/critize post I wrote in 2011 At the end of the meeting, of the work day, of the day, of the year I what do I want? I want to […]


  11. […] In the End I Want to be Able to Say I Contributed More Than I Criticized | Librarian by Day. […]


  12. […] already linked to this article in a previous post, but it is worth mentioning this article again:  In the End I want to be Able to Say I Contributed More than I Criticized. Public service does take a toll on people and keeping good humor is essential, but also a positive […]


  13. […] B. (2011, January 23). In the End I Want to be Able to Say I Contributed More Than I Criticized. Librarian by […]


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