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librarians, reference, work

Five month status update

It’s been five months at my new job at a new institution in a new city, and I have some time right now so I thought I’d give another little update. Today I received the official email that I didn’t get a permanent position that I had applied for here, although I already knew that weeks ago and in fact met the successful applicant about a week and a half ago. Of course I’m bummed – that’s now two permanent positions I’ve applied for here and not received (since if you remember I originally applied for a tenure track one, but got this temp one instead). So, instead of focusing on trying to get a permanent place, I’m going to work at making the most of my time here and take this time to learn as much as I can and to grow and we’ll see what happens next. No need to hurry, right?

Things are starting to come together now and I’m doing pretty much what I expected and doing the things an academic librarian does. In fact I’m finding it a little challenging learning to give reference staff work; I’m used to working in smaller orgs where librarians have to do their own ‘menial’ or clerical type things that I don’t even think of asking the staff or student librarians to do stuff for me. As noted earlier, I have been given a subject area and so I’ve received some training on acquisitions which is going to continue for a while; they’re pretty good at supporting and training new librarians here. I still haven’t met with the chair from my department but considering it is summer I don’t expect to hear from him for awhile, though various faculty have emailed me requests. No requests for library instruction at all though. I’m not sure if there’s been any work done in that area for this department. I’m so happy that I have a subject area that I’m familiar with yet at the same time it makes things difficult – so many titles seem interesting to me, but I don’t think they actually support the curriculum so I can’t really buy them.

In addition to collections and reference, I’ve managed to get onto a couple committees. I know, most of you abhor committees since they mean meetings and meetings are time wasters, but any of you that know me, know that I’m a joiner and actually like committees and (some) meetings. Next week I have meetings with both committees that I’m on. Should be interesting – they’re both areas I’ve had some experience in and want to work more with.

Can I just say, I feel like such a baby?! Really, compared to every other librarian here, I feel like I’ve accomplished little – they’re all so experienced! Of course, I suspect I’m the youngest librarian here; I think there’s maybe one the same age as me. Not that age is necessarily an indicator in this field, but it still helps puts things in perspective. Anyway, I still have time to find my place, as I was so worried about in a previous post.

And of course reference! You know me, I love reference. I do chat reference every day. It’s pretty dead right now, but I get a few questions; even the occasional one that’s NOT circulation related! Yesterday was a new milestone at the reference desk for me. I actually had two reference questions in French: one in person, one on the phone. The in-person question was from a professor who had looked for an author and saw his books were at our library but checked again and saw they were at the other campus. Turns out most of that particular author’s books were at our campus, although the other campus had a couple too. The prof had a couple follow up questions too. So it wasn’t too hard a transaction, but still I was proud that I didn’t have to force him to switch to his broken English (which the clerk at circ needed him to do). The phone call sounded more complicated at first but that’s just because the caller used a lot of words. Basically she was part of a research group that wrote a book and wants the library to buy it, so I transferred to the librarian that collects in the relevant area. Still, my phone language is horrible – I hate talking French on the phone; I sound like an imbecile.

Not much else comes to mind at the moment. Like I wrote, just trying to make the most of my experience here and learn. Still getting to know my coworkers; one had a nice garden party two weeks ago and I believe there’s another party in August. Oh, and I guess I should mention the library has a new director! I haven’t met him personally yet as when he was by on Monday the phone rang just before he walked by (I’m pretty sure he was going to greet me). He seems like a nice fellow, reminds me of my former Classics professors.


About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.


One thought on “Five month status update

  1. I was waiting to hear back from the dept head before I went ahead to try and hit faculty one on one, but if they’re like the one I’ve been in contact with, they’re probably off in some exotic location, like Crete!

    Turns out I may have some instruction – one of the profs teaches in another area that had a dept session with a librarian. So she approached that librarian for a course in my area. Other librarian contacted me and we’re going to work on this together.

    Posted by Jen | 18 Jul 2008, 11:13 PM

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