This issue of The Reference Librarian evolved from a discussion about conflict. Is conflict something to be avoided or is it interwoven in the professional life of all librarians? Should a career be directed by attempts to make everything smooth, placid, and without disturbances? On one side of the discussion, this was the case and there was heavy criticism of anyone who is involved in a conflict. Conflict, according to this view is a force for disturbance, it never yields progress, and always reflects negatively on those involved who are unable to communicate and unworthy of being professional librarians. The other view in the discussion is that some conflict is inherent in most aspects of library work and is especially evident in public services. The tensions in a conflict situation encourage originality, lead to new solutions to old problems and foster creative evolution of the profession. A librarian can be evaluated on his or her ability to function in and understand a conflict situation and be able to react in the best interest of the library and the profession. A library without some conflict, opined a participant in the discussion, is either dead or doomed, and probably not fulfilling its mission. At least one author in this collection points out that a lack of conflict often represents the behavior of the burnt out—the apathetic reaction of an individual to a situation which is no longer a challenge, of interest or of value to them. Creativity, new thoughts, growth of the profession and of libraries depends on the skillful evolution of conflicts.