It has been a busy summer. In late June, my husband and I packed all our things, drugged our anxious Basset hounds Otto and Igor, and headed west. We drove from Chattanooga, TN to Camarillo, CA for our next big adventure.
We decided to splurge on a bigger home than our tiny 1BR back in Chattanooga. We now live in a 3BR, 2.5BA townhome. We made the decision not just for size, but because the property is practically on campus at CSU Channel Islands and is only a half-mile walk to the library where I work. Additional bonuses include a two car garage, and being across the street from the dog walking and running trail. Coming home from errands, we drive through strawberry fields and a lemon/lime tree orchard.
It is beautiful here in Southern California. It seems bizarre to live in a place where we don’t allow the weather to dictate what we wear. In fact, we don’t ask about the weather at all. It is always sunny and beautiful with azure skies. Always. Constant sunshine, friendly neighbors, and the beach being less than ten miles away makes it easy to remain in a good mood.
I am the newest reference and instruction librarian here at CSU Channel Islands, and will become the Information Literacy Coordinator once I soak up all of Debi’s knowledge and training. I’m also part of The Seventeen, as the incoming tenure track class has been dubbed, and we are planning to get together on a regular basis to keep in touch.
My office is in the John Spoor Broome Library, with my colleagues. The library is an intriguing blend of old Spanish architecture (from when the campus was a mental institution) and modern design, with glass front and an infinity pool right before the entrance. Cool fact: the library basement used to be the hospital’s morgue. (I think we just one-upped the sinking library urban legend…and ours is real!) My colleagues are phenomenal. They believe strongly in baked goods, so I fit in perfectly. Everyone is enthusiastic about serving our students and faculty, so there is great energy, and everyone is possessed of a great sense of humor. Everyone is welcoming, and energetic, and the veteran faculty (though nobody is too veteran; our campus is only 13 years old) make it clear they want to welcome us new folk, work with us, and plan the future of the university with us. And the future of our University is in our students.
We are a Hispanic-serving institution, with just about 40% of our 5,000 students claiming a Hispanic background. Many of them are first generation college students, and their enthusiasm for starting the school year last week was incredible. I grew up in a school district that had a high Hispanic population, and seeing these students in college warms my heart and makes me feel at home.
I’m full up with new library instruction class preps for classes like Business of Art, University studies, a passel of Pyschology courses, an upper level Spanish course, and more. I’ve got meetings on the books with a number of faculty around campus, and I’m attending as many open meetings as possible to meet everyone. CSU Channel Islands actually has information literacy written into their academic outcomes, and campus faculty and staff have only great things to say about how the library helps them accomplish those outcomes. In addition to teaching information literacy sessions, I’ll be observing my colleagues to learn what works best in their different styles, picking their brains on content and contacts, joining some University committees, and doing campus walkabouts to meet faculty in their native habitats.
In short, it’s an exciting time for me to be starting at a new University. I’m full of questions and ideas, and after last week (our first week of classes), I’m even more convinced I made the right decision to come here. Expect more about library instruction and interdisciplinary projects in the next few months!