Life is good. I’ve acclimated to Chattanooga (by acclimated, I mean ‘they barred my way home and I spent an entire late evening lost but made it back anyway’). The apartment is great, but for the small issue of a Korean family below me who likes to play their music loud and host MTV-esque parties into the wee hours. The creative writing juices are flowing, which is just as well, since the MFA program needs me primed and ready for the November residency in Louisville. But mostly, I’d like to take a gander at the two months I’ve now got under my belt of academic librarianship. The real kind, with the actual job title.
Work is good. No, work is fantabulous – I love it. I teach classes – so far, the Freshman Life library intro class and the introductory English class library sessions – and I love it. The freshmen have so much energy! Plus I find it fun to teach them databases in a semi-interesting way. (I mean, c’mon. You can only make Academic OneFile so exciting, right?) The students have all been great so far, and since I don’t mind a smartass, they seem to like me pretty well. So, classes: good. Working the reference desk is going well, too – I love being on the front lines of the research battles, especially for the new kids. I’ve got one book review in for publication and three more due in the next few weeks, so some mini-publications are already in the works. (Heh, four book reviews within 4 months of new job – not bad, right?)
Actual research – I’ve actually got a piece in the works with the Dean (who is wonderfully supportive) that we’re pitching to ALA’s LIRRT for Anaheim, as well as to the state conference. It’ll be time intensive (lawdamercy, I do hate me some surveys), but actually useful, which is key to keeping me interested and working.
Most of all, though, I have to admit to being completely floored at how I lucked out in colleagues. Coming from a humongous university where the backstabbing politics were something to behold, and where you couldn’t FIND a librarian if you put on a spelunker’s helmet and tried, my current spot is filled with fantastic folks. I don’t know if it’s because we’re somewhat smaller, and so interact more often, or if it’s because there’s fewer (as in: zero) layers between administration and the librarians and staff. Everyone is kind and helpful, everyone is excited about their work, everyone puts the students (and other patrons) first when making decisions. Administration does its best to give us the tools and resources we need, and provides honest in-your-face feedback (much preferred, I should think, to the secret backroom discussions I’ve seen in other places). Teamwork and committees actually accomplish something around here (no! really!), and effort is appreciated and rewarded, for the most part.,/p>
Yes, I feel I’ve stepped into the rabbit hole, and that this can’t possibly last. But it seems to just be the way things work around here. Could it be that I’ve found a *gasp* non-dysfunctional library? Oh, we have our personality bumps, and we’re working with too little staff and too little funding. Everyone is, nowadays. But oh, how much nicer LibraryWorld is when people are genuinely nice and here to help. I mean, I don’t even mind the fact that we allow food and drink in the library, that’s how great this place is.
Kudos and big thanks to my new coworkers, who have confirmed my belief that if you do what you love, life is good. And you don’t have to do what you love in a hateful environment, if you win the Awesome Environment jackpot. I sure lucked out. Thanks guys!