Friday, December 28, 2007

Self indulgence

Ah, the season of gluttony and laziness. What a great time for some self indulgence!

First up, my apologies for being somewhat silent of late, although I did warn you. The combined effect of buying and then moving into a house, trying to do repairs on and rent my apartment, still learning lots in the new job, and, oh, Christmas, made me somewhat...zombiefied. It wasn't that I counldn't find time to write, it was more that after all those things, I had little to say other than "still keeping on". Which is really boring.

The self indulgence I speak of is in the form of a review of the last year. I'm only just sneaking this in before the end of 2007 as it is. What a bloody year. I mean, 2006 was a big year, very dramatic and it had huge highs and huge lows, so 2007 doesn't quite stand up to it in that sense, was still a dramatic and draining year. I can't say I'm sorry to see it end.

Of course I started this blog to act as a kind of reflection on changes in my career, but at the time I had no idea how many changes there would be. I didn't know that in this year I would work in four different jobs. I made the move to academic librarianship with every ounce of faith, fully expecting to embrace a new direction and passion, only to find that, well, it wasn't quite the match made in heaven I expected. Now I'm back in special libraries and wondering why I ever left. Yes, I had big plans, yes, I wanted to do big things and "make a difference", but I'm not so sure I had realistic ideas about how that was going to be achieved. Nor am I so sure about this whole "make a difference" thing. I think I'm not sure what I mean by that.

I got into some good library fights this year. ALIA made some changes to the structure of committees, which got myself and other members of the Next Generation Advisory Committee all riled up - there was a time there where all the committee terms were going to be increased from 2 years to 5 years, however it's now been brought down to a much more reasonable 3 years. Personally I still believe that 3 years is much too long for a voluntary committee appointment, and I still don't really understand the reasoning behind the change. In 2008 all the current committee members need to reapply - I don't imagine there will be a challenge to our appointment, but I'm not sure yet what I'm reapplying for. Am I reapplying for the position that I thought would end in December 2008, or a new position that will last for 3 years? Do I even want a 3 year position? I'm worried what will happen to the other committees if other people are asking the same question.

ALIA also made major changes to their draft conference manual. This created somewhat of an uproar, unintentionally I believe, but it was fantastic to see not only the effort put into the draft changes but the number of people that really cared about this and jumped into the fight. This to me is the sign of a healthy member-based association - if you change something and members complain, that's fantastic, because it means that they noticed and they care. I hope the staff at ALIA are pleased with the result, because it really was evidence of member involvement.

I did not nearly enough work on the paper that myself and some colleagues are presenting to the ALA Annual Conference in June. I helped arrange a big viewing of The Librarians at the ABC Library. I got frustrated at the fact that there were so few other library-related events for me to attend, but I also enjoyed hanging out with a few library friends and watching Party Girl one night. And yes, I do miss the full text access that UNSW Library had to American Cheerleader magazine. Quality reading, that.

Next year already seems full to me - please don't add anything new. In a couple of weeks I'll start studying an MBA, and I'm hoping to get rid of the excess furniture in my study before I receive the notes (if anyone wants a futon couch / bed, please let me know!). I'll be in Anaheim in June, probably suffering from stage fright, and will be in Melbourne in December for NLS4 - wild horses couldn't keep me from that one. I'll have my 30th birthday somewhere in there.

I've still got this new job - I'm not sure if I articulated this clearly before, but one of the things I love about this job is that it's hard - and I'm not yet good enough. I need to get better at being a librarian in order to succeed in this job, and that's what I'm looking forward to. I'm also looking forward to the specific workplace challenges: we're implementing a new library management system! Fun! It means that we have the opportunity to really ask some good hard questions about how we do things, and whether there's a good reason or a better way, and I just love doing stuff like that.

I feel no need for new years resolutions - "get through it all" is about the best I can hope for, but I'll be darn proud of myself if I manage that. Meanwhile I'm spending my Christmas break doing lots and lots of relaxing. In fact, I think I might just make myself some tea and have some leftover cake.

Happy new year.

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