Thinking about days in my worklife

Library Day In The Life round whatever is approaching again, so I’m thinking about my days.  I’ll do some day-recaps next week, but right now it’s Friday, I’m overwhelmed witht taskwork, and my mind is wandering.

So what do I do all day? The snarky, off-the-cuff list…

  • Listen to Miranda Lambert loud enough to accidentally irritate the secretary.
  • Give the Special Projects Associate and User Services Librarian permission to move lockers, display cases, and study carrels, or whatever else it is that they’ve thought up today.
  • Decide on a moment’s thought to ask for 9 more iMacs for the group study area so that we can have distributed group-friendly workstations.
  • Advise on rewrites of signage.
  • Write mini-press-releases about library statistics pertaining to use and campus value.
  • Listen to Pearl Jam loud enough to accidentally frustrate the secretary.
  • Pick out furniture finishes and colors.
  • Try to stay current and patient with the facilities upgrades needed in our aging building (right now, this encompasses painting, carpet, ceiling repair, and upgrades to the fire alarms.  This summer it was window replacement.  The fun never ends).
  • Attend lots and lots of meetings, many in my office in which I set the agenda, but many more which are in Raymond Hall in administrative offices.
  • Respond to appeals for fine reductions, hold releases, and other special treatment from users.
  • Write lots and lots of policy documents for review by committees, administrators, and library staff meetings.
  • Write even more emails.
  • Sign stuff.  Important stuff, like performance plans for staff, travel reimbursement forms, gigantic invoices, etc.
  • Read lots and lots of email.
  • Listen to Madonna loud enough to accidentally annoy the secretary.
  • Calculate the impacts of reductions and increases to various budgets.
  • Remember to love Excel, and try to love Access.
  • Try to remember to file things before the piles of Important Stuff eats my office.  I have a desk and two tables; I try to keep at least one table clear of Important Stuff That Wants To Eat Me.
  • Write thank-you notes to donors while pondering fun and useful ways to spend their money.
  • Write more email in between more meetings.
  • Listen to Snow Patrol loud enough to accidentally frustrate the secretary.

I read that list and it feels accurate, in so far as it goes.  A lot of my daily time is taken with that kind of task, minutia, administrative detail management.  But I have a larger role, as well — a bigger responsibility.  I need to help steer and plot the future of this library, these staff members’ jobs, the services we provide, the spaces we offer to our community.  And so buried in each of those tasks, underneath each detail, is a sense that I’m making small choices, and sometimes big ones, that will help shape that direction.

I’m doing it more systematically, as well; I’m finishing the first working draft of a strategic plan to guide us through the next several years.  It’s been a fascinating experience, and I’m still wrestling with it.  I have most of the information I need, now… I just need to pin it down, give it shape and form and tend to the wiggly bits that won’t lie flat.  Getting there, in between and around and after the detail-y task-heavy days.

On Monday i’ll do my best to do a Day In The Life, and again for the rest of next week as much as I’m able.  But for now… I do a lot of stuff like what’s above, here.  And I like it.

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