This is the time of year when we reflect on all that has happened over the past 12 months; the successes, the failures, the moments of epiphany, the stumbles, the growth and change, basically everything that makes us human. That is why I was so struck by the timing and subject of Seth Godin’s recent post about vampires (and he’s not talking about Team Edward or reviewing the latest True Blood episode). Seth explains that these metaphorical vampires are “people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of all, on extinguishing your desire to make things better.” What is so striking to me is that Seth says that these vampires cannot be cured; they cannot be shown the error of their ways. Trying to change their minds and get them on board is a waste of time. Seth explains that all we can do for these people is pity them.

Our profession is undergoing a time of great change, one in which we are examining everything that we do and looking for new opportunities. One in which we cannot afford any vampires. However, we have taken to trying to “cure” the vampires in our midst with education and programs like the recent PLL Summit offerings of “Get out of your Comfort Zone and Lean Up” and “Changing Perceptions” and last year’s SLA conference sessions like “Just say NO to Aimlessness” or “How to Re-energize your Library”. I’m not saying we shouldn’t continue to encourage, educate and collaborate with the non-vampires, but maybe we should take Seth’s advice and stop trying to “cure” those among us who have gone over to the dark side.

We have some amazing evangelists for our profession. One of whom is constantly trying to shake things up with his provocative posts. Yes, I’m looking at you Greg Lambert. Greg consciously tries to poke the hornet’s nest in an effort to generate conversation and, hopefully, real change. But ask yourself this, when you read a provocative post or hear a controversial idea discussed, what is your first reaction? Do you immediately try to shoot it down or poke holes in it? Do you meet it with negativity or an open mind? Do you attend the above mentioned types of sessions at conferences and think of all the ways the ideas “won’t work for you”?

Maybe during this upcoming time of reflection, we should also be asking ourselves: have we turned to the darkness or are we still in the light?
Colleen Cable is a Library Consultant for Profit Recovery Partners bringing the “consultant angle” to Three Geeks.