One of the greatest things about working where I do is the way I get to work with people from our IT department. Or rather, it’s the way that the idea of working with the IT department isn’t a big deal. I absolutely take it for granted that we have a combined service point (which we’ve named Research/IT… yeah, “research it”…) instead of a reference desk. I think nothing of calling down to Matt on the web team if I need something from our content management system that either isn’t there yet, or that is there but I can’t figure out. In any given week, it’s entirely possible that I’ll spend more time working on projects with IT people than I will with people from other departments in the library.
Well, today we had a half-day retreat for all library staff, all IT staff, the archivist, and the slide librarian. The first hour was filled with three- to five-minute descriptions of projects we’ve done in the last year that were collaborative across our department. May I say “Wow”? We’ve done everything from design and implement a new icon set for the different material types in our catalog, to planning for a new concept of data services that will provide much needed support for all the classes that need to find, manipulate, and analyze data sets.
There’s still room for improvement, but if there weren’t life would be boring. So for the next part of the retreat we broke into groups to talk about the future. What do we want to improve? Well it’s no surprise that we want to have a better handle on who knows what so that we can tap expertise whenever possible. We also want to think of ways to improve communication so that we aren’t so dependent on vast quantities email. We’d also like to develop of system of periodic short (half-hour or 45-minute) sessions of presentations and/or discussions focused on what we do, what we think about, projects we’re working on together, projects we’re working on separately, and anything else of interest. Oh, and they would be open to the entire campus. The faculty have this in place already via our amazing Learning and Teaching Center, but we’d like periodic sessions produced by us as well.
I’m so pumped!