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While life is kind of exciting around here at the moment, there isn’t much to really blog about. Or maybe I’m just being modest. Meh.

The office packing has begun. Tomorrow night I plan to work on packing up the apartment. The library is doing a food drive beginning next week, so I’ll bring in any non-perishables I don’t want to mess with transporting. It’s a “food for fines” thing and if we aren’t doing something like that (and do charge fines) at my next place, I think I’ll start it. Fines don’t really add much money to the budget anyway and it’s a goodwill thing for the students.

I spent an hour on the phone and internet yesterday getting all my utilities set up for the new place. Decided to get cable and am hoping that I won’t become addicted to TV again. I’m watching almost none anymore and am much more relaxed. Decided to go with wireless internet since the only extra expense was the router and once I have that it’s ours to keep. The only other thing I’ll probably get once I’m there is a subscription to the local paper. It feels good to have that stuff out of the way.

Joined a scarf exchange on Facebook. Waiting to hear from my partner about any allergies and preferences before heading out to buy yarn. Fortunately we have until mid-January to get the scarf knit, so I’ve got some time.

I was given a gift from the library today at our staff meeting. It’s a LittleU Christmas ornament. It will fit in with the general idea of our Christmas tree. DH gets me an ornament each year that is supposed to signify something significant about that year. My time here has been an important part of my life and it will be nice to hang that next year. There will be no tree this year since I won’t be there to put it up and I’m not moving all that stuff with me. I might get one of those little live trees in a pot so my apartment isn’t completely un-Christmasy. But that’s about all I’ll have room for.

In general, I don’t feel all that sad about leaving. I think it hasn’t completely sunk in yet and probably really won’t until next week when I’m walking out the door. Also, the one person who has had been my closest ally and friend here has also found another job. Things are definitely going to change around the LittleU library in the next several months. I wish them well.

A friend at work asked me to go for coffee this afternoon. We ended up hanging out at the coffee shop for a couple of hours and then decided to go have pizza for dinner. Yes! I played hooky this afternoon and it felt great. It occurred to me that this isn’t a bad thing to do if you only indulge occasionally. Really, it was great to sit and talk about different things that are going on in our lives and generally catch up. I will really miss hanging out with her…and we didn’t do this nearly often enough. Guess I’ll just be coming back to visit sometimes. She really has been a true friend and I’m going to miss that. It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt that cared for from anyone outside of my family. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a friendship that has felt this equal…with giving and receiving.

As I walk around the library and talk to students who I see frequently, I’m starting to feel a more sad about leaving. Don’t misunderstand…I have no intention of changing my mind and never did once I accepted the offer. But there are students who I’ve gotten to know a bit and will miss. There are a few who seek me out specifically when they need help. It’s a good feeling.

I’ve started packing up my office and it’s already starting to feel and look like an impersonal cubicle. It’s amazing how much stuff has migrated here over the past 15 months. Good thing I’m starting the process now. My office might take me longer than my apartment!

Motivational

Posted on: October 2, 2008

Library Journal has an interesting article about what keeps Movers and Shakers motivated and happy. Somewhere else (I can’t remember where) Meredith points out that this is really relevant for all staff, not just the M&S’s.

Very true. In my experience in various jobs, there are at least a couple of people who tend to be the innovators with great ideas and fantastic drive to get things done. Sometimes these people have been really supported. Other times they haven’t been, and in those cases, they generally move on fairly quickly to somewhere where they will be supported.

Recognition (and recognition of recognition) is important. While it’s great to say that we should be motivated by internal satisfaction rather than external accolades, people do tend to get a charge out of that public recognition when they do something well or have a great idea. When you have administration that is aware of and shows pride in its employees, chances are you have a staff with high morale and a great work ethic. It makes a difference!

One of the things that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately goes along with the whole recognition thing. It involves knowing your employees and recognizing their unique talents and skills. Not everyone will be the most innovative or creative but that doesn’t diminish what they have to offer. Someone who likes and excels at something like authority control, for example, can have an important role and should be recognized and appreciated. I work with someone who wrote a grant to expand our ESOL collection and has since went on to present at conferences about how our collection has expanded (thanks in large part to her efforts) and how our library can help teachers around the state with the loans of materials. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a huge thing to some, but to the teachers in Kansas, this a fantastic resource. She has a talent and interest in this area and has offered something greater to the organization as a result.

Knowing your employees and recognizing their talents is one of the principles in the books The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Sure, you might run into people who are jealous of others’ achievements. But I think this is a symptom of a larger organizational problem. If people feel valued and relevant, there is less of a chance for them to feel jealous of others. Jealousy is a sign of low morale and deeper issues.

So what do you do when the recognition isn’t there? I suggest modeling what you’d like to see yourself. Pay attention to what people let drop in casual conversation. We all have egos to some extent and will find a way to let people know when we’ve done something we’re proud of. When you hear something, find out more. You may not be a boss, but you can still send out an email to the library to let others know about a co-workers achievement. (You might want to ask if it’s okay first, but I doubt most people will say “no!”) Eventually your administration might start doing it as well. Even if they don’t, other staff might start reciprocating.

This leads into leading from the bottom. Which I’ll talk about some other time. I’ll say this though, we can still make small organizational changes even if we aren’t in administration. If you are unwilling to go with the status quo and are patient, you can be influential in ways you may not even have thought about.

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One thing I’ve noticed this week is that I do feel more centered, more grounded. It was definitely a week that could have felt chaotic and out of control since I came back to a full week of instruction and desk shifts. There have been few moments when I haven’t been multitasking. While I like being busy, this can often lead to exhaustion and feeling unsettled. Unwittingly, I set my alarm incorrectly last night and didn’t have enough time to meditate this morning. And I can tell that I’m not as calm today because of it. This helps reinforce my commitment to the 2 hours a day minimum. Already, I’m thinking about how I can add another hour into my days.

Another thing that came out of my time at the retreat is a desire to start really improving my overall physical health. This means exercise. We have access to personal trainers here at LittleU and I’m looking into working with one. Hopefully this will make me more motivated. Often, being accountable to someone other than myself is a good motivator. I also plan to start doing Yoga. This will actually help me improve my ability to meditate.

On the work front, instruction is now in full swing. Between teaching, I’ve also had time to start doing some book/materials ordering. One area that I really want to grow this year is our selection of DVD’s. To begin I’m using the AFI’s Top 100 list. I had written a grant request for this purpose, but haven’t heard anything yet. I’m also working on plans for the KS One Book. We’ll be doing some discussion groups and other events. And I’m partnered with a very talented colleague in this project, so it’s pretty exciting. Might even turn into a conference presentation at some point if things go well. Besides all that, I’ve also got two presentations to prepare for that are coming up in October and early November. So the fall will be productive and full.

Still, there is always time for knitting and football. I’m slowly working my way to finishing the second pair. I have about an inch of cuff left before I start turning the heel. As to football, we are playing one of our rivals this weekend, so I’ll be staying in LittleUtown Friday night so I can go to the game on Saturday. Next weekend DH and I are heading of to HugeUtown for a book festival. I’ll be working at it for a couple of hours in the morning. Then it’s off to lunch at the local brew pub and shopping at the Yarn Barn. Fun!

…with anticipation.

There are two events in my planner that I’m really looking forward to.

The first is Stitches Midwest. While a giant fiber market with all sorts of yarns and other fibery goodness thrills me to my toes, I also get to see my family again. I do take advantage of the few opportunities I get each year to make trips up to see them and do whatever official thing actually brings me to the area. And this trip really is all about pleasure. There might even be a stop at Ikea in the works. DH is likely to also get a growler of some tasty brew from a local microbrewery/brew pub.

In the beginning of September is the meditation retreat. I’m nervous in some ways, because it will be strange to spend 10 days without a computer, phone, knitting, books, etc. Yet I’m really excited about the possibility of creating profound change in my life. I have no idea what to expect except for long periods of meditation while we learn the technique. My pillow has arrived and my meditation bench is on the way. Other than that, there isn’t much preparation to do. (And how will I survive all that time without blogging?! *laugh*)

So, that’s what’s going in my life. How about you?

For some time, I’ve been advocating for more flexible scheduling at work. Personally I’d love to be able to work at home at least one day a week. Librarians are doing it and doing it well. I don’t know if I’ll be doing any full days soon, but it looks like we might have at least achieved a consensus on scheduling our days in ways that work for us.

It’s part of the overall shift in attitudes around here that has led to a willingness to try something new. The faculty are basically deciding to stand up for what we are supposed to have because we are faculty. While there are days I’d gladly give up the whole tenure track hamster wheel, it’s not what most people around here want. But if we’re going to be tenure-track faculty, then we need the time to do everything and the ability to structure our work so that we can meet goals.

What does this all mean? While we all generally work 40 hour weeks (and usually more than that), we are going to try setting our own schedules that work for us. Of course the expectation is that we are here for meetings, desk shifts, and whatever else requires our physical presence, which in my department might mean office hours and a day when I am librarian on call. Other than that, if we want to work at home for a few hours or do a split shift, it’s going to be up to us. I don’t think that we’ll see many people doing that very often, but the fact that we have the option makes a HUGE difference.

This is just one of the shifts that are starting to happen around here. My thought is that this is OUR library. If we want it to be a good place to work and learn in, it’s OUR responsibility to make it so.


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Upcoming

Mar. 10 - Photography Class

Mar. 11 - Quad Cities SnB

Mar. 12 - Lincoln Reenactor performance at BHE

Mar. 13 - Annual budget due

Mar. 14 - SnB trip to Galena

Mar. 16-21 - Spring Break

Mar. 16-18 - On the Front Lines library conference in Springfield

Mar. 19-22 - In Kansas

Mar. 23 - Orientation in Quad Cities

Mar. 24 - Photography Class

Mar. 26 - Spring Break for Academic Librarians workshop in Peoria

Mar. 27 - Supervisor Development in Quad Cities

Apr. 2 - Using Social Technologies in Library Instruction workshop

Apr. 6 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 6 - My birthday

Apr. 7 - Photography Class

Apr. 9-12 - In Kansas

Apr. 10 - College Closed

Apr. 12 - Easter

Apr. 13-19 - National Library Week

Apr. 13 - Weight Watchers

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Apr. 16 - Evening Instruction Session

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Apr. 20 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 21 - Photography Class

Apr. 22 - Renegade Reference meeting in Bloomington

Apr. 23 - Illinois Library Day

Apr. 24 - Quarterly Supervisors Meeting

Apr. 27 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 28 - Photography Class

Apr. 29 - Supervisor Training in Quad Cities

May 5 - Photography Class

May 12 - National Library Legislative Day

May 25 - Memorial Day - College Closed

June 4 - RSA Users' Group meeting in Peoria

June 6 - SIL's birthday June 6 - Brother and SIL Anniversary

June 8 - Nancy Pearl at Bradley University

June 13 - WWKIP train trip to St. Louis

July 3 - Holiday - College Closed

July 4 - Independence Day

July 10 - Mom's Birthday

July 10-15 - ALA Annual Conference in Chicago

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Nov. 23 - Brother's birthday

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