Peer Groups, and Not Fitting In
by Patty Andersen
Many thanks to Kaye for inviting me, I’m still not sure why but thanks anyway! I thought for a long time about a topic for this blog. Not being an author I had to wonder if I would have anything interesting to say but Kaye insists that I will do fine. You can be the judge.
So, my topic is – not fitting into the peer group. My peer group is other librarians, specifically other Library Directors although I can count all librarians as well. You see, I never feel like I fit in with these folks. No, it isn’t that I don’t have the correct education (M.L.I.S. from Louisiana State University) or the job (library director since 1996) the problem is –I don’t like the same thing that so many of the other librarians like; I don’t listen to classical music (I’m rock ‘n roll or country), I avoid NPR, I seldom watch PBS (History Detectives being a notable exception) and I can’t tell you the last time I read the latest “important book”. So, I tend to be really quiet in social situations around my peers. Oh, there are a few out there who read mysteries (often with the disclaimer that “I read the classics”. There are even some who read romance (ack, did I just admit that I also read romance, oh well, it is true, I used to read only romance, many of them being the series romance of Harlequin) but most often they talk about things heard on NPR, watched on PBS or books that I’ve seen talked about on TV but would never dream of reading. Can I admit that as far as I know I have never read an Oprah book club book? That the only classical music I know comes from TV or movies (Amadeus anyone)? That I would rather watch reruns of M*A*S*H* than some series on world peace that takes weeks to finish? Even in some of the places where I am comfortable, like DorothyL, threads will pop up that make me feel like an outsider. The one that started me thinking about this topic is one that shows up from time to time, the issue of “literature” vs. “popular fiction”. I’ve read a lot of literature; I love Shakespeare, hated Dante and got through lots of others on my way to a minor in English literature. My problem is, I don’t like critiquing what I read – I love to read but if I have to analyze it to death it takes away the joy of the story for me. I can do it but I don’t like it. To me when someone says LITERATURE they are looking down on me and what I read, they are dissing the things I love because it doesn’t fit some artificial standard that “they” (who ever “they” are) say is the only thing to read.
Thankfully I have found places where I’m comfortable. DorothyL for mysteries (most of the time), SoundsLikeAMystery for audiobooks, specifically mystery audiobooks, Facebook for general chatter about the fun things in life as well as the more serious and home for friends and family.
So, are there others of you out there who don’t feel like you fit in with your peer group? If so, let me know, I might feel less alone.