10 April 2009

Whew...what a week

It's a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon and there is something premonitory about the quiet in the library. With less than three weeks to go until classes are out, you would think that students would be flooding us. Even on a Friday. But there are two things in Vermont that trump all obligations: snow and sun. Big snow days = skiing. And the first few sunny days after a long winter = get outside.

I, however, am stuck in the library. At least for the next hour. I appreciate it, frankly, after such a whirlwind week. I returned from our trip to Wales and Ireland on Sunday evening and jumped right back into life on Monday. It's been a while since I traveled internationally and I forgot how exhausting reentry can be. Plus, March was all about traveling and teaching: ACRL and then directly into the 2nd year info lit sequence and then on to LILAC and Champlain in Dublin. Hence the "Whew" component to this post. But here I am now, quietly at my desk, and I can start to see the silver lining of finals. Summer.

Part of what I love about summer (besides the lake, bike rides, and my garden) is the chance to quiet down and think more thoroughly about what we are doing at the library. What are our goals? Are we meeting the expectations of our faculty? Our students? Our selves? What is it that I want to improve upon for next year? What is it that I want to expand? What is it that could be omitted?

My ever impressive partner in crime at the MIC, Andy Burkhardt, really got me thinking about expansion and improvement with a terrific brainstorming session yesterday. We work well together, Andy and I. As he pointed out, when the semester is buzzing and we are dealing with our info lit teaching schedules, we just don't have the chance to throw out ideas and get creative as much as we might like. This is certainly true. I need to pause and bring it down a notch in order to generate ideas. The irony is that once I achieve my optimal speed for idea generation, I speed up immediately and the ideas start pouring. For example, a discussion about staff information literacy needs leads to developing our popular reading collection leads to summer programming for reading leads to technology workshops leads to video tutorials leads to skype. BAM BAM BAM. Thank goodness Andy gave me a piece of paper to capture some of these ideas on. And thank goodness there will be more quiet time to think about what is ripe for action and what needs more time in the incubator.

Many people ask me whether I resent not having summers off. In large part, no. I appreciate the time to slow down, think about what I am doing, and develop a plan for the year to come. I appreciate the chance to be more flexible. I appreciate the quiet in the library.

I hope that I will have the chance to think it out a bit more here, on my blog. And to share it out in the library community. One thing I realized at ACRL and LILAC is that we don't always have to wait until something is over in order to share it. Sharing the process is often far instructive and helpful for other librarians and for myself. So, I guess that's a commitment I am making to myself and to anyone reading: I hope to share some of the ideas and processes to manifesting them this summer. So while summer might be a quiet time, it is not to be mistaken for a slow or unproductive time. Rather, I feel like by June 1, it'll be BAM BAM BAM a lot more.

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