dipping my toes into the library administration pool

For the past, oh, five years, I’ve been dead-set against being a manager. When I took this job at the University of Richmond, one of the things that really appealed to me was the reduction in management responsibilities, particularly in light of what I had to do in my last job.

And yet, my coworkers kept putting me in leadership positions, and most of the time I didn’t mind the work as much as I may have let on. As long as I have some clear direction in what needs to be done, I’m pretty good about making sure it happens.

So, when the opportunity arose to be the interim director of my division of the library, I seized it as a chance to get my feet wet with management in a more friendly environment. I like my division, I reasoned, and they seem to get along pretty well. This won’t be too bad.

My friends, it’s one thing to serve on library-wide committees, but managing personnel is an entirely different set of challenges. Throw in the stress of a massive renovation that required temporary relocation of most of the staff for the summer, and you’ve got quite a bit to keep a handle on.

So far I’m two and half months in, and everyone is still alive. I’ll be doing my best to keep it that way, but if I’ve learned anything from this experience it’s that I’m not quite ready to be In Charge. So, I’ll be continuing to figure out how to be a Leader in my library without being the Boss.

library day in the life – round 4

Hello. I’m the electronic resources librarian at the University of Richmond, a small private liberal arts university nestled on the edge of suburbia in a medium-sized mid-Atlantic city. Today I am participating in the Library Day in the Life Project for its fourth round. Enjoy!

8:30am Arrive, turn on computer, and go get a cup of coffee from the coffee shop attached to the library. By the time I return, the login screen is displayed, and thus begins the 5 minute long process of logging in and then opening Outlook, Firefox, and TweetDeck. Pidgin starts on its own, thankfully. Update location on FourSquare. (Gotta keep my mayorship!)

8:40am Check schedule on Outlook, note the day’s meeting times, and then check the tasks for the day. At this point, I see that it’s time for a DILO, so I start this entry.

8:50am Weed through the new emails that arrived over the weekend. Note that there is more spam than normal. In the middle of this, my boss cancels one of two meetings today. (w00t!)

9:15am Email processed and sorted into folders and labels. Time to dig into the day’s tasks and action items. Chatty coworkers in the cube farm prompt me to load Songbird and don headphones.

9:25am Send a reminder to the LIB 101 students registered for my seminar on Friday. Work out switching reference desk shifts because my Wednesday LIB 101 seminar conflicts with my regular Wednesday shift. Also send out a note requesting trades for next week’s shifts, since I’ll be away at ER&L.

9:40am Cleared all action items and to-do items, so now it’s time to dig into my current project — gathering 2009 use statistics.

10:30am Electronic resources workflow planning meeting for the next year with an eye towards the next five years.

11:00am Back to gathering use stats. I’ve been working on this for over two weeks, and I’m a little over half-way through. I’d be further along if I could dedicate all my time to it, but unfortunately, meetings, desk schedules, and other action items get in the way.

12:15pm Hunger overrides my obsessive hunt for stats. I brought my lunch with me today, but often I end up grabbing something on the go while I run errands.

1:10pm Process the email that has come in over the past two hours. Only two action items added (yay!) and both are responses to request for information from this morning (yay!), so I’m happy to see them.

1:15pm Back to the side-yet-related project that I started on shortly before lunch. We have a bunch of journals in the “Multiple Vendors :: Single Journals” category in our ERMS, and I’m moving them over to their specific publisher listings if I can, checking to see if we have use stats for them, and requesting admin info when we don’t. There are only about 55 titles, so I’m hoping to get most of this done before my reference desk shift at 3.

3:00pm I’m only half-way through the side-yet-related project, but I have to set it down and go to my reference desk shift now. Answering many technology questions from a retired woman who is attempting to take a class that requires her to use Blackboard and view PowerPoints and things that are highly confusing to her. Checking out netbooks to students and showing them how to scan documents to PDF using the copiers rather than making a bunch of copies. Also, catching up on RSS feeds between the questions.

5:00pm Desk shift over. I have just enough time to wrap up my projects for the day and prep for tomorrow, grab a quick bite to eat, and then I’m off to the other side of campus where I have choir rehearsal until 7pm.

Thank you for reading!

movin’ across the country… again

Anyone need a new-to-you car?

As I indicated a while ago, I have a new job. Starting December 10th, I’ll be the Electronic Resources Librarian at the University of Richmond. They already have me in the staff directory, so it must be true. My time at Central Washington University has allowed me to grow and explore both professionally and personally, and it has given me the knowledge and experience I needed in order to make the decision about where I would like for my career to go.

One major thing has been the realization that I do not have any interest in participating in the tenure process, at least as it stands at Central. I am a practitioner first, and a scholar only in the most liberal sense of the word. I do have a desire to share my knowledge with anyone who is interested – I have had a blog for five years, and it’s not always just a bunch of naval-gazing posts about nothing – but the method of dissemination and the content of that knowledge is not what this university expects from its teacher/scholars, and I suspect that may be true elsewhere, as well.

I want to be a librarian. I want to come into my job every day knowing that the work I do will directly benefit my users. I do not want to spend time outside of my 40 hours worrying about whether or not I will have enough publications in journals no one actually reads (seriously – when was the last time you read a peer-reviewed library publication for anything other than a literature search for your own article or book chapter?) just so I can keep my job.

I can be “just” a librarian at the University of Richmond, and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m also excited about moving back to Virginia. When I left to go to grad school, I thought I’d be back soon. When that didn’t pan out, I gave up that dream. Now I’m going back, albeit not to Harrisonburg, but Richmond is close enough. Plus, I am closer to my family and friends, and it won’t cost me a $400 plane ticket to see them whenever I want to.

The moving process has begun, but I’m starting to freak out a little because I haven’t nailed down an apartment yet, nor have the movers responded to my queries. I do, however, have real moving boxes this time, and once I get some packing tape, I’ll be good to go with the daunting task of sorting through my stuff to determine what comes with me and what stays in Washington.

Anyone need a new-to-you car?