Why Do I Feel Like I’m Still in School?

As my first semester as an academic librarian comes to a close, I can’t escape the feeling that there’s something I’m forgetting. This is just the way I always felt towards the end of a semester in college, when final assignments were due and tests were a commonality. Maybe I am just suffering from the misguided notion I had that the end of my first semester as a librarian would bring peace and quiet. Instead, I feel like the students who are in the midst of finals; I’m rushing around, trying to finish last minute projects and work in meetings before everyone leaves for the break. It’s as if the entire campus is in a mad rush to neatly tie up loose ends so we can all start fresh in January. I’m not sure what gave me the impression that these last few weeks of December would be easy. Sure, there is the occasional office party to attend or vacation plans to discuss, but most of my time has been spent meeting deadlines and making lists of things to work on when I come back to work after the break.

Part of what has kept me so busy is my appointment as co-chair of a sub-committee for my library system. We’re charged with assisting in the current information literacy initiative, and let me tell you, it’s a lot of work. I was excited to be asked to sit on the committee, and it’s actually been a great learning experience. I’ve learned more about information literacy programs, assessment, and learning outcomes in the last several months than I ever thought possible. Likewise, being co-chair of the sub-committee is an excellent opportunity to learn more about leadership. We’ve been very busy planning presentations, assessing our information literacy tools, and meeting several times a month to discuss it all. I’m extremely thankful for my co-chair, and the other committee members, who are all great at what they do and a perfect group to work with. But, did I mention it’s a lot of work?

Add all of that to the instruction requests I’m already receiving for next semester, the library workshops I’m coordinating and advertising, and the bulletin boards I’ve been feverishly working on, and you have one tired first-year librarian.

However busy I’ve been, though, I do believe I’ve had a great (and in my eyes, successful) first semester. I wrote a web site review for a peer-reviewed journal, I’ve “attended” some really great webcasts, I’m lucky enough to share my thoughts on this respected blog, and I think I’m even getting better at networking. And I know one thing that separates me from the students (well, besides the paycheck): being able to relax and enjoy my vacation without worrying about grade point averages or tuition for the upcoming semester. There are benefits to being a professional!

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