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Reflections on one year as a librarian

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Today marks my first full year as a full-fledged librarian. It has been a great year thanks to great co-workers a great location, and a campus culture that blends community and the college motto “Audeamus” (let us dare). I have drawn a few lessons from the year and figured I would share them here.

  1. Build bridges –  This year has been about getting to know people: co-workers, professors, staff, students, colleagues at conferences, etc. Relationships are important in any place you work. You need to be able to work as a team with your co-workers, and getting to know colleagues at conferences allows you learn more and possibly work on projects together. Being friendly and having connections in various places allows you to get different perspectives and possibly accomplish things easier. Treat people with respect and don’t discount any of your relationships with people.
  2. All fun, all the time –  This is the motto that I’ve tried to institute for our library. My view is that if I’m not having fun I’m doing something wrong. Sure, in any job there’s some drudgery but you can’t forget to have fun. We spend 40 hours a week for 40+ years of our lives working. That’s a significant chunk of time. You should probably be enjoying yourself at least some of that time. If there’s not fun, make some.
  3. Don’t forget the big picture –  Too often we get caught up with sending out emails, going to meetings, and getting our day to day work done without taking time out to ask, “Why?” “Why am I doing this?” “Why are we doing things this way?” “What are we trying to accomplish here?” Looking at the big picture is crucial to make sure you are heading in the direction you desire, not to mention giving your work a sense of purpose and meaning.

I have learned a lot and accomplished a lot. Among other things, I’ve hosted a chili cookoff, taught a couple dozen classes using the inquiry method, done web work, helped make important decisions with my colleagues, presented a poster at a conference, won a scholarship for the same conference, and made a lot of good friends. And that’s just the first year! I’m still learning a lot from the job and my co-workers though, so I can’t wait to see what this next has in store.

Andy Burkhardt

2 Comments

  1. I agree with you on the importance of building bridges. Being friendly and approachable makes it easier to do your job and to help others do theirs.

  2. It is one of the most important things I've done here. From some of the relationships I've made I think it has allowed me accomplish so much. Sometimes good things just suddenly happen unexpectedly as a result of the relationships I've created. People remember you or think of the library as a place that can help them (or that they can help).

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