Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Not Getting What You Don’t Ask For

A non-faculty member recently asked for a library carrel, in order to take an online class. I’ve been here for twenty-three years now, and we’ve almost never have support personnel ask for a study carrel, which is rather sad. It’s not that people don’t know the rooms are there – at one time, when we had a rash of newborns, we set one carrel aside for nursing mothers, and the room got brisk use.

Thinking about this reminded me of another event. Some years ago, I arranged a noon-hour tour for support staff around the science center—people from all sorts of departments, not just the library—we took a “dock walk” and learned to identify different types of fishing boats. The woman who coordinated the program told me that she had been arranging these tours for over ten years, and she had never given herself permission to go on one of the tours until our event.

It got me to wondering, how often in life do I “short” myself? Do I lack the imagination, courage or energy to carve out some time to stretch and grow some new skills? Or to have a new experience? Are there services I think are just for faculty/management because I have never asked? How often do I say, “I’m worth it” and mean it?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Praise of Standing in Line

I was only able to attend the first two hours of the SSD conference last month. Even in that relatively short time, I ended up standing in a couple of lines.

Queuing up is a standard activity at pretty much every conference. (A notable exception was Online Northwest several years ago, when the conference planners had designated one of the men's restrooms as a women's restroom for the day). We line up to get food, to visit the rest room, or visit a popular exhibitor. We frequently complain about it while we're doing it, and mention it on our conference evaluations.

Standing in line has its good points, though. Since I was at SSD for a short time, I never would have seen many of my SSD colleagues if I hadn't encountered them in the line for breakfast or the restroom. It was great to have a chance to catch up with folks I hadn't seen for a while (over a year, in some cases).

Standing in line is also a good way to meet new people. Don't be afraid to say "hi" and introduce yourself as the line snakes slowly toward the desserts. You can find out about other libraries and maybe make a new friend. At the very least, the line seems to move faster when you've got someone to talk to.