That last post, the 4 to 7 bit, was typed in April. It’s been four months since I’ve had time to publish it and consider blogging again. I admit, that reading about someone’s reference shift is rather boring. I’ve spotted some of those “day in the life” posts that other librarians are blogging, and while it’s an excellent documentary exercise, I find reading them quite boring. Hot tea with your cat at 5 a.m. is less than thrilling. Sorry, I won’t be jumping on that bandwagon.
Also thought I’d take this opportunity to come out. Originally I thought this blog would be an anonymous exercise and mostly to serve as a way to re-engage with the profession that I’ve grown more and more ambivalent about over the dozen years I’ve been a professional. But now I’m having second thoughts. I’m all for self-promotion, especially for librarians, who far too often shirk from the light and bury their heads in the sand. In May an article I wrote about libraries, customer service, and organizational culture was published in CRLNews. Maybe you read it? It was called Try on a new pair of sensible shoes: What libraries can learn about customer service and organizational culture.
Getting feedback from other librarians after it was published was wonderful. I was tickled, really. And it made me realize that I should take responsibility for my “informal” writing as well as the formal, “published” bits, too. The trouble is: I have these ideas that I want to explore and have published “for real” in order to get credit for promotion (I’m already tenured). So, I don’t want to squander them here by blogging them. Crazy divide, isn’t it?
The worst part is that my experience with writing the Zappos article was so great. Don’t get me wrong. I’m full of ideas. I have too many of them, and picking and choosing which one to pursue is tricky. I put Zappos and libraries together in March and wrote the article that month, and maybe a bit in April, too. Maybe not, you don’t need the exact timeline, do you? The editor at CRLNews responded so quickly. Sure, I got the rote “please allow 4-6 weeks for our response” automated email, but then the next week, the editor wrote, said it was great, would like a few changes, and wanted to run it in May.
That has not been my experience with the article I submitted to LJ July 27. Frankly, the experience with CRLN spoiled me. Yet, it also inspired self-confidence, too. I’ve always thought I’m fabulous, and for once, it was lovely getting the kind of affirmation that I never receive at work, because the culture here is so wicked. And that’s something I’ll blog about, eventually, as I have a case study in mind for my workplace/library and will ponder the issues here a great deal, no doubt.
So what’s kept me so busy in the past four months? Writing a history of my academic library, for one. Poring over the papers in the archives was fun at first. Then grew to be painful and rote. I’ve taken a break from that, for several weeks, but now must return to the task in order to finish by my deadline. Oh, and inspiring other librarians across the long state of Tennessee to take finger to keyboard and write the history of their library, too. I’m astonished by what a bit of effort of my part has accomplished.
You see, a year or more ago, our former editor of the state library journal (I’m its book review editor, by the way) put out a call for papers for a theme issue on the history of libraries or of the association, etc. When I approached her this spring about getting my proposal in just under the wire, she said mine was the only proposal she had. Then she stepped down, and I got the new editor’s permission to essentially campaign directly to library directors in Tennessee to ask that they contribute an history of their library for the special issue.
I can’t give an exact number at this moment, but there are at least two to three dozen libraries who promised an article for the special issue. I think, perhaps, I’m most proud of this accomplishment, more so than anything else that I’ve managed in my career thus far.
Writing a library history is challenging and interesting, to say the least. I’ll have more say about that.