There are two of Mrs. Weiss’ kindergarten rules that are forever burned into my brain. The first is always walk with your scissors pointed down because you do not want to accidentally stab your classmate (and possibly get blood on your Star Wars shirt). Most importantly though is that you should never, under any circumstances, run with scissors. I remember my beloved teacher filling our heads with scenarios that included eyes being poked out with an errant pair of dull clippers. Even today I instinctively hold my scissors pointed down and against my body even if I move a foot in any direction. When I see children barely move at the speed above a walking pace, I freak and quote the rules. Mrs. Weiss scared me straight regarding scissors, but she also potentially saved a few lives.
When it comes to sharing ideas you should ignore Mrs. Weiss’ scissors rules. If scissors represent a cutting edge or seemingly crazy idea, don’t hold back. Wave those scissors high above your head. The library will never benefit if you keep your suggestions pointed down and close to your body. Great leaders do not hoard innovation. Great leaders wave those ideas around as much as possible to cultivate an environment in which all staff feels free and safe to share. After you have successfully (or unsuccessfully) implemented your ideas, do not forget to run around and share them. Our profession has thrived on great innovation being talked about in meetings, online and at conferences. When you share a good idea, you open eyes, not stab them out.
Mrs. Weiss wanted to protect her class from the dangers of scissors. Her rules were to help students recognize that tools can be both dangerous and helpful. Library leaders have the responsibility of crafting a workplace in which sharing ideas is not only encouraged, but absolutely safe. Great libraries are filled with scissor wavers. Great librarians run with scissors.