The best part about working in libraries is no two days look the same. When it comes to library work there's the agenda you create and then there's what happens daily throughout the day. My adaptability in these situations makes the day go smoothly. This month has been about me getting familiar with structuring my own days, exploring research, and sinking into working at a university. Let's look at some of the things I've been able to accomplish or encounter this month.
Fortunately, my previous position had days that I had to structure myself and I know there is a learning curve for how to fine-tune my time. It takes about a year to establish a good routine so I know to offer myself grace and freedom to not get it perfect every day. Some days it's just enough that my checklist is completed. Creating bite-sized goals makes for better morale. I love time management tools like planners, Trello, and digital calendars to help me throughout the day. I am excited to see how my schedule develops once my rotations are over but with the way they are being scheduled, I think I'll be able to do some interesting things with my days.
Speaking of rotations, I officially started rotating through the Organizational, Performance, and Inclusion Department. It's okay if you don't necessarily know what that means because I know I didn't. Basically, it's the department that ensures the structure of the library is in place. By this I mean Marketing, Digital Strategies, Learning Environments, Facilities, Strategic Planning, EDI, and a few other things. This is also my home department for the time being. Once my rotations are over I'll choose a new home department (possibly) and then I'll choose a project to focus on. Another thing I got to do was shadow the Science Librarian while she tabled a First Year Success event. I love outreach. Tabling events has always been another favorite about librarianship so it was nice to see a liaison librarian doing it right on campus. I also began to wonder if Clemson Libraries tabled events in the community or any surrounding areas but something tells me that's not something I'll see around here. However, maybe that's something that can be created. We'll see.
This month has also been about getting familiar with the university, campus, and meeting structures. I've been able to attend our faculty meetings, and commission meetings for women & the black experience, and I've submitted to volunteer at a conference as a reviewer. These meetings always have an air of formality. I've been in a lot of these formal types of meetings from being an artist no less. Artists often sit on councils and if you're a social commentary poet like myself who is passionate about EDI initiatives you might just end up in meetings with politicians or community government meetings. Universities have a similar structure of formality. Also now that I'm in the residency I get to participate in the Diversity Resident Experience group where we meet monthly and talk about our experiences as well as do some professional development activities. I applied to work on one of the Residency Interest Group teams so we'll see if I got that.
Attending online workshops or presentations has always been exciting to me and is another thing that I get to do in my library work. I have a few topics of interest. Some things I've been paying attention to are AI and archival work. These are two parts of librarianship that have some interesting growth happening as well as emerging technologies within library spaces. So this month I attended Community-Driven Archives & Libraries in the Age of AI which was pretty great and informative. I love to see the developments that are taking place.
Lastly, I've begun to start thinking about my goals for the year and what those will look like. Its been a great month overall. I've been walking around campus to learn the lay of the land, trying to navigate where to park, and finding my own routines. Another highlight is being able to get to know my colleagues. I look forward to seeing what the next month brings.
The library is buzzing with life once more and I’m getting to see it for the first time. As promised students have spilled onto every floor. It’s impressive to see. The most action my undergrad library got was during exam times, but it also wasn’t nearly as inviting as Cooper Library. Thankfully libraries are changing their very old ways and for a building that was built in 1966, the library is thriving. I am finally preparing to start my rotations. August was filled with tours, introductions, and me wrapping my head around this residency as well as what I want to get out of this experience. I've settled into my cubicle (plants and all) and am ready to go.
In anticipation of this week, I met with the Library Resident Committee and the different divisions. There are four divisions that I’ll be doing rotations in for the next several months. This meeting was an opportunity for me to meet with the different division heads before my rotations began. It was a tad underwhelming because most of the divisions I had information on and had met with prior to this. I definitely feel this should’ve been done during my first week or closer to the start of my time here. The semester is underway but I feel as if I’m just getting cranked in. I can already tell which two divisions will be my favorite and honestly which department I fit best in. I had ideas of what I wanted to do in academic libraries before I got here and now that I’m here I am noticing just how much my instincts were right.
Since the beginning of time, I've known that special subjects and collections would be my areas of expertise. Something in the fray and not isolated. I’m an extrovert. The little Mermaid sang, 🎶I want to be where the people are 🎶 and I knew when I toured during my interview that I too wanted to be in the hub. One thing no one tells you going into libraries is that most folks are introverts, especially librarians. Though we're less commonplace, extroverts in libraries do exist. One thing that has surprised me about academia so far is that everyone asks, “What’s your specialty?” In public libraries folks mostly care about your department and maybe your title. While academia is separated by whether you're staff or faculty. This residency is a faculty position so the next breakdown is whether you're temporary, entry, assistant, or tenure faculty. When it comes to specialties I have been delighted to discover most folks have two or more areas of specialty. I fit right into this world, a lot smoother than I thought I would. Juggling the plates of my interest with the best of them.
That’s why we’re here. To explore our interest. We’ll see if these rotations open me up to avenues I haven’t considered yet. I did get a thing or two out of the presentations by one department that I hadn’t really heard from yet Overall, this week has definitely felt like preparation. We are ready for lift off!
Highlights of the Week:
-Hung out with a Liasion Librarian to table a Diversity Event
-Went to a workshop on Libraries in the Age of AI & Community Driven Archives
I'm Sahara (Sista SOLS) a information professional that has working in public & academic library spaces. Currently, I am a library resident at Clemson University. Here you'll find my residency experience, thoughts on articles, research findings, and story files from what I hope is a fresh perspective.