library fail

I haven’t written anything here since the fall. This was partly because I was frantically learning a bunch of new things at work, but mostly because now that I have a normal library job I’m not sure how to talk publicly about what I’m learning at work and some of the challenges that have come up.

I think there’s a broader culture in libraries of only talking about the good things outside one’s library or institution. Conference sessions are rife with à ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã…”how we done it good hereà ¢Ã¢”š ¬  sessions that present positive success stories. I learn more from stories about how things went horribly wrong, or the hiccups and mess ups that happened along the way.

Starting a new job, I knew it was going to be full-on for the first 6 months. There’s new policies and procedures, formal and informal things about the organizational culture, new people to work with, and in this case for me, completely new subject matter.

I’ve had a casual but uninformed appreciation for art. On the reference desk I often have to ask users what medium a specific artist works in, what country they are from, and if they are alive or dead. Thankfully most of the users are generous, inquisitive and kind. Provinding reference services is collaborative affairà ¢Ã¢”š ¬Ã¢â‚¬ I’ve got some skills on how to find stuff and an ability to teach, and the user has useful information and is often keen to learn. This semester I’d like to learn more about art reference.

I’ve been thinking about and reading quite a bit of management literature. This has surprised me. Some of the other unlikely things that I’ve been thinking about include: organizational culture, community development in an academic setting, supervision and management styles, the library as place, and time management.

In the fall, I started writing about different issues. I either wrote things that I knew would get me into trouble, or posts that were extremely vague, over generalized and uninteresting . This semester I hope I can find an appropriate balance and find my voice again. For me blogging is a way to reflect on the things that I’m doing and learning. I hope to find the words to talk about the things that that are broken at MPOW, or things that have gone wrong during various implementations.

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