Memories, Dreams, Reflections

This has been an interesting first year for me, and certainly not what I expected.  I’ve learned a lot about bureaucracy, and how to make the best of a clunky administrative system.  I’ve learned that what a librarian requests and what the library actually receives can be two vastly different things.  I’ve learned that without a library director to “go to bat” for you, you have to be very persistent to accomplish anything that requires permission or approval. And I’ve learned that working as a one-person-library is stressful, mind-warping, challenging, and tons of fun.

As a library student, I dreamed of helping students with complicated reference questions, and rabbit-trail search quests.  I dreamed of becoming proficient in the myriad databases and technological bits that the library utilizes. Ultimately, though, I dreamed of being a Tech Services librarian and working with collection development and cataloging.  I never dreamed I’d become a computer instructor, assisting students as they struggle with Blackboard or formatting an English paper.  I never dreamed I’d become a printer technician, troubleshooting and solving issues because it’s so hard to get the service guy to come to this campus.  I never dreamed I’d stand in front of a classroom full of bored students and get them (well, at least *some* of them) excited about library resources.  And I certainly never dreamed of doing any kind of presentation at a professional conference.

But upon reflection, some of my best memories from this year are just those things I never dreamed I’d do.  I’m an introvert, and getting in front of a class terrified me.  But it was fun!  I really got a kick out of seeing the “ah-ha moment” in a student’s eyes, as the complicated procedure about sending attachments suddenly becomes crystal clear.  Granted, I still don’t love the bureaucracy, but I’ve learned to worked the system and now I can repair my own books and do my own collection development and make most of the day-to-day decisions that impact everything that goes on in this space.  I get the reference questions and the database questions and the citation questions.  I’ve presented a poster session at the Alabama Library Association conference.  I’ve encouraged some new readers, and found some new authors for my “we love books” crowd.

I think I’d still like to go into tech services, but now that I’ve been an “everything librarian” for a year, I’d have to have a position where I can spend time with students too.  Because I’ve realized that the students are what make the job unexpected, intriguing, frustrating, and completely worthwhile.

So thanks for letting me post here this year as a First Year Blogger – this too has been a great learning experience.  I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the blog, and I know I’ll be back for regular visits to see what hot new topics are being discussed!

3 thoughts on “Memories, Dreams, Reflections

  1. Thanks to you for illuminating both your first year and the experience of being a one-person library. I’ve found all of your posts to be really illuminating. Your DIY ethic and creative way of solving problems and overcoming obstacles is a lesson to all of us, including those with colleagues to lean on.

  2. Thanks for your great posts! It’s been wonderful getting another new librarian’s perspective, especially from a solo academic librarian – you don’t hear from them very often :) Congratulations on finishing your first year!

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