Tales of a First Year Nothing

The first installment from Josh Petrusa, in his first year as E-Resources Librarian at Norwich University.

So here I am, almost three months into my first professional position, and the rehearsals are over. Four years of non-professional work, two years of library school, six months of a job search, and a month of getting accustomed to my new surroundings, and now I’m facing live ammo, to use the parlance of my new institution. I’ve got real research questions from real students, faculty to meet, instruction to teach, two weeding projects that need my attention, electronic access modes to tweak, and a budget line in my discretion waiting to be spent. It feels like I woke up from a long dream and found myself to be a responsible professional academic librarian (and being called “Sir,” no less) with colleagues, students and faculty treating me as such.

I won’t argue that I’m not deserving, or not ready, but it does seem odd to now be on the other side of conversations and issues I’ve observed in my non-professional capacity – my opinions have value all of a sudden (insert debate here regarding the quality of today’s LIS education). That’s not to say that I won’t be careful when making decisions or in acting on my goals for our library’s services – I do have responsible colleagues with input to offer as well, but it is a blessing being at a small library where an idea can be put into action fairly quickly, and with an almost immediate benefit to our patrons. I’ve seen plenty of projects I’d like to take on, but I also want to heed the advice I’ve been given by many colleagues to take it slow my first year and do a lot of watching and learning. Perhaps it’s just first year hubris talking, but I believe I can make a difference here and I’m foolish enough to believe I have the youthfulness to reach our undergrads (I’ve still got a few months left before 30). My title is Electronic Resources Librarian, and while I know I’ll be looking into further e-journal subscriptions and doing chat reference, my eyes are opening to everything else academic librarians have to do every day that aren’t exactly in our job descriptions – hey, I’ve already fixed my first printer jam.

Anyway, I look forward to sharing my hopefully coherent insights on what I’m learning in my first year as well as what I’m observing about the profession from my new professional position over the next year. Thanks for reading this far and I’ll check in again next month, but in the meantime please enjoy the work of my other colleagues reporting soon.

7 thoughts on “Tales of a First Year Nothing

  1. Expect to fix lots of printer jams and plenty of other things not in your job description – I even had the copier repair man teach me how to do some of the simpler repairs in my last position, as the copiers broke down so frequently.

    Good luck and don’t hesitate to get a few of your ideas out there, even in the first year. You never know what new innovation you learned in library school or in your paraprofessional work that could be very beneficial to your new library!

  2. Welcome to the fold, Josh! The insights of someone fresh to the profession can be quite helpful to those of us slightly more, uh, jaded. Keep it coming!

  3. Yes, Welcome to the wonderful, everchanging profession of librarianship and information science and technology Josh. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and have been challenged by all the changes and opportunities I’ve seen and had. I hope you enjoy the same. I’ll look forward to reading about your adventures. At least you don’t have to file cards in the catalog. Cheers

  4. As all the others have said, welcome to the profession. Reading your first post was almost a bit eerie, given how similar my story is — at my first professional job for approximately 3 months, will be turning 30 not too long after you. And I’m a blogger myself, focusing on the international aspects of information use:

    http://www.neasist.org/icisc/blog/?p=14

    I welcome any comments you (or any of you ACRLog readers) may have, and I look forward to reading your experiences as a newly minted librarian!

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