2018: A Banner Year (aka make a plan, do the plan)

2018: A Banner Year (aka make a plan, do the plan)

2018 has been a banner year for me professionally.

A Plan Made

Four years ago, I created a 5-year plan to help me achieve two goals, promotion to Librarian and appointment as Associate Dean for Collections at IUPUI University Library. This plan and the unforeseen retirement of my predecessor resulted in me reaching both of those goals this July — a full year (or more) ahead of schedule. I’m now two months in and feel the need to share some reflections.

I can’t recommend developing your own plan enough. Not only does it help move you toward your goals, but it also helps you say no to the many requests that don’t align with those goals. And there is the added bonus of feeling a rewarding sense of purpose and forward movement as you methodically check things off the plan.

Your plan doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a list of things, perhaps in each area against which you are evaluated. For me, that’s performance, professional development, and service, so my plan takes the form of a bulleted list divided into those categories under each year. I also include a “prep” section for each category to keep track of things that require advance application/submission.

On the other hand, some people have a hard time developing a plan from a blank piece of paper. If you are one of those people, you may find this guide to creating an individual development plan that I adapted for the IUPUI Mentoring Academy a useful place to start.

A Plan Fulfilled

Now that I’m a Librarian with a capital L (which means there are no more promotions in rank to strive for), there is comfort in the knowledge that I can focus in on what really interests me without feeling obligated to say yes to things that don’t. The only problem is I’m interested in too many things. As one thing comes off my plate, there are two more really exciting things vying for space and attention. Part of this comes with my new, larger role as Associate Dean for Collections and the broader responsibilities that come with it. And part of it comes with my increasing awareness of where my interests intersect. There is an interdependence between resource sharing, shared collections, open access, and scholarly communications writ large that is impossible for me to ignore. This makes it difficult to draw artificial boundaries around my interests that dictate where I should and should not be engaged. So rather than resting on my Librarian laurels, I find myself even more engaged in communities and projects that I think will make a difference to my library, to all libraries, to all people.

What are some of those projects, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

I continue trying to integrate my experiences as IUPUI’s Director of Faculty Mentoring into my library work. I’ve met and worked with some wonderful people who are truly committed to the development of everyone in our IUPUI community. These experiences and the knowledge I’ve gained about mentoring inform how I interact with my colleagues and how I approach disagreements and discussions among them. I want to help launch a library group to sustain and enhance the mentoring and professional development work that has been started.

I agreed to co-chair the Academic Libraries of Indiana’s brand new Shared Collections Committee. This is an outgrowth of all the work I did with the ALI-PALNI Shared Print Project and my continued interest in building a shared collection from which we all can benefit. Shared collections are a natural extension of my dedication to resource sharing that began 12 years ago. My role in shared collections within Indiana will require representing us, alongside Kirsten Leonard, regionally and nationally to ensure we have a seat at the table. In fact, one such opportunity arose as I was writing this post!

I convinced two of my Center for Digital Scholarship colleagues to help me put together an event about the interdependence of collections and scholarly communication in the hopes of breaking down some silos. That has since morphed into the creation of a study group to produce a report on this topic that will inform the eventual event. This falls solidly in the category of “I don’t have the time, but I’m really interested in / excited about this.”

I’m partnering with the Open Access Button to help them create the next generation of their tools for libraries and acting as an advisor to their work. I am ridiculously excited about this. It aligns so perfectly with my years of research (and some might say proselytizing) on open access and interlibrary loan. Plus, I get to work with amazing, enthusiastic, and visionary people.

This is all in addition to my “regular” work of developing long overdue collections policies and reenvisioning what collections mean at IUPUI University Library with the help of a dedicated group of professionals not so cleverly called the Collections Working Group. Overall, I’m sometimes overwhelmed but grateful to be in this new role. I’m thrilled to be part of projects with the potential to have a broader impact. I’m amazed at how well my 5-year plan worked. I’m eager to share all that I’ve learned and continue to learn with all of you. Thank you for listening and acting (at least in my head) as an accountability partner. Time to go create a new plan.

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Show Your Deep Work

I recently read two seemingly contradictory books, Cal Newport‘s Deep Work and Austin Kleon‘s Show Your Work! Deep Work includes a chapter titled “Quit Social Media,” while Kleon says to share every day. So what am I to do? Newport does give his readers permission to stay on social media if its positive impact outweighs its negatives. It’s just clear that he thinks that is a rare state of affairs. But that permission means not all sharing avenues are closed.

Truthfully, I’m not a huge social media sharer to begin with, so I’ve quickly carved out what I think is a middle ground. I’ll still post to Facebook when the mood strikes me. I’ll still check out the Twitter feed when I attend a conference. That’s it for social media. I think the best way for me to #showyourwork is to write the occasional blog post right here – occasional being the operative word.

I’ve done the blogging thing before and eventually got overwhelmed. The self-imposed pressure to keep up my posting frequency led to abandonment. This time I’m setting low expectations from the start while embracing Kleon’s notion that “you want hearts, not eyeballs” (p. 129). It isn’t about how many followers you have but having the right followers – the followers that care about the same things you do. So don’t expect daily, or probably even weekly, posts from me. Right now, I’m more interested in integrating #deepwork in my life, and this website is a tool in my learning process. Like Kleon says, “Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine” (p. 67).

Another element in all this is my keen awareness of the importance of sharing. I am a librarian devoted to resource sharing after all. So when I have thoughts to share that can’t be contained in a Facebook post, you’ll find them here. I hope we can share ideas and help one another.

Welcome.