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Busy Busy Busy

I don’t know what’s up, but this summer has been crazy busy at work. We’ve had projects and deadlines and research questions and emails and lots of Plan A’s that turned into Plan B’s and then some more projects. I’ve been at work late nearly every night for the past two weeks AND THERE ARE NO STUDENTS ON CAMPUS.

I know I always think that summer will be slower than it is. I always see two an a half months with no classes and think “Ah… I’ll have plenty of time to do all of that and maybe write an article.” I also know that I’m usually wrong. As evidence of this, note my modest (by academic librarian standards) publication count. It’s not for lack of things to say, that’s for sure.

But this summer has felt even more hectic. For a taste, here’s what we’ve done in this first half of the week.

  • We revamped our guidelines on how and what to record and count about our various interactions with students and faculty (reference desk, consultations, and classes). As our services evolved to meet the needs of our campus community, distinctions and practices we used to find uncomplicated now seem a little more confusing, so it was time to discuss some of these trickier scenarios and write down our conclusions so we don’t have to waste time making as many decisions about our statistical collection. In the process, we had to decide what we want to be able to investigate about our services, and how to collect information as accurately as possible and in a way that wouldn’t mess up our ACRL reporting.
  • I took all our discussion notes and actually drafted those guidelines. That took quite a lot of time.
  • We planned and began the planning phase of a pretty big assessment project. (That’s right, we planned to plan. Believe me, this was necessary.) We’re trying to figure out what we can learn about sophomore-level information literacy by reading a subset of the sophomore writing portfolios. This project has monopolized at least half of each day this week, and we have hours and hours more to do this week. If I weren’t deeply intrigued by the project, committed to making it a success, and so so so excited to see what that success looks like, I’d probably resent the amount of time it’s consumed already, before we’ve even gotten off the ground. But instead, it’s become one of those time-intensive projects that seems to energize rather than tire. This is Interesting Stuff, and there’s very little I’d rather be doing.
  • We’re planning to host a librarian from Cornell University, so a couple of us have spent time putting together an agenda for that day.
  • I’ve reorganized the way I keep my calendar (just a little, not a whole lot) so that I’ll be sure to have everything working the way I need it to work when Fall term hits.
  • Research questions don’t stop over the summer, they just get harder. This is when people ask the really hard-to-figure-out stuff. It’s also when I am not forced to find the best I can and then move on with my day, so I find myself obsessing just a little and not letting go of questions that maybe I should.
  • We drafted our departmental goals for the next year. That’s just about as fun as it sounds, but important. We’re getting pulled in many directions these days, so it helps to name our priorities.

And that’s just the stuff I can remember. Meanwhile, at home…

  • My cat spent Monday at the vet. The details are not for the squeamish and involve the words “necrotic” and “abscess” and one very sore paw. Now, twice a day, we get to struggle to decide the questions “Will those antibiotics make it into that stomach? And will the resulting blood on the carpet be yours or mine?”
  • But on the up-side, I’ve gotten completely sucked up in a couple of books, and I try to spend time every morning and every evening on my porch reading and sipping tea. I wouldn’t trade these hours for anything, but they sure do cut into time for things like, for example, sleeping. And eating. Oh, and doing my dishes.
  • I’ve felt like I have my old energy back for the first time in, well, months. I don’t know what was up between January and now, but whatever it was, I hope it’s gone for good.

But since I’ve already been teased for the length of my emails by three people in the last two weeks, I think I’ll stop now. Suffice it to say (which is a coy way to say “that looked like a lot but it wasn’t much, really”), it’s been incredibly busy but mostly in a good way, so I’m pleased.