Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Library Day in the Life- Wednesday

Today was everything I love about my job. This was not a day for Getting Things Done or Taking Care of Business- no, Wednesdays are generally reserved for team meetings and my 1:1 with the boss, and in both cases we had an awful lot to discuss. I enjoy sitting down with the various Heads in Access Services and talking , as due to both the nature and location of my job I wouldn’t get much face-time with my colleagues otherwise.

Our ILL shop is situated so as to be convenient adjacent to both the library’s mail room and the closest service entrance to the Stacks, which is great for workflow synergy but cuts us off from our colleagues at various public service desks upstairs. On a good day I refer to our office space as “the bunker,” or even the Bat Cave; on other occasions when I’m feeling less charitable, though, I just call it a cave. However I refer to it, it’s a welcome change of pace to leave it for a spell and not think about the thousand and one fires I need to extinguish. Given our request volume it’s hard to tear myself away even to grab something from the cafĂ© vending machines, let alone lunch someplace in Harvard Square, so I appreciate having a weekly break that is not mine to cancel or postpone.

We don’t normally go the full two hours for our Team meetings, but today’s agenda items invite lively discussion and we are reluctant to break early as we brainstorm our way through several pressing issues and connect the dots between our various areas of responsibility. Like most libraries, we have seen so much change over the past year that it is good to resume an air of normalcy, and even though there will doubtless be even more change around the corner being able to sit down together and anticipate it makes a world of difference. There is a spirit of camaraderie at these meetings that I greatly enjoy, and it speaks well to us as a group that we are able to laugh and joke with one another as well as we are able to work.

Whether or not to break for lunchtime is also entirely out of my hands today as it turns out, as I am being taken out to a nice little bistro to celebrate an award I won for my work involving the document delivery service we launched last Spring. It’s a real honor, and over an excellent meal I get to talk about the role of libraries and resource sharing in the 21st century with my colleagues, my past and present bosses, and our library’s director. I’ll admit that I recycled my own blog post yesterday about how the ability to say yes is the true bottom line of our profession, and I’m happy to report that it was well-received.

After lunch I have a brief respite before launching into my 1:1 with my boss, which feels more like an extension to the day’s conversations, albeit with more action items specifically for me. I end up walking out of my boss’s office with an even fuller plate than I already had for the next couple of weeks. Part of the challenge of what I’m tasked to do is that our resource sharing efforts continue to grow by leaps and bounds, so much so that we need all the help we can get. This means more cross-training, more coordination and cooperation across traditional boundary lines, more dotted and horizontal lines on the org chart, more willingness to explore and implement new solutions to the unique problems of the postmodern library. In light of everything that we’ve talked about today, however, I can see how each of these new projects fit into the larger picture, and I am excited to tackle them head-on.

So granted, I spent approximately forty-five minutes in the office today, during which time I barely had enough time to touch base with my staff, let alone get anything else substantive accomplished. But sometimes the most important part of being a librarian is thinking and talking about the Big Picture. And that's what my Wednesdays are all about.

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