my learning curve

Yesterday was my 8 month anniversary as a Library Director, so I thought I would share some of the interesting things I've learned and experienced while working at Sticks Library:
  • Like in life, the Golden Rule should be observed
  • Some days you're the first one in at 8a.m. and the last one out at 8p.m.
  • Vanity be damned: sometimes you just have to wear sneakers with your work pants
  • Staff concerns that seem petty still must be addressed seriously
  • Sometimes laughing really hard with your staff can make the really long days tolerable
  • Smile at EVERYone...smiling's my favorite
  • I think I look forward to storytime more than the kids
  • The process of buying all new computers, software, security, etc. really is arduous and crazy-making
  • There will be lots of interesting surprises along the way, like the patron who sells the best and freshest asparagus in town and always makes sure to stop by and see if you need any; or the 60+ year old who invited me on a weekend motorcycle trip
  • The best days are when one of your storytime families surprise you with lilacs; the worst surprises are the days that the boiler and the AC are not working
  • I never knew how much kids could love a good elephant impression--so much so that they've bragged about it to another family
  • I'm actually starting to know who some of the people being gossiped about are!
  • Keep an emergency kit in your office: an extra shirt, high heels (if you wear flats all the time), and deodorant are bare minimums
  • Keep at least one beer or a bottle of wine in your fridge at all times...never know when it's going to be a night when you'll need it  :)
  • Staying in contact and asking for support from former co-workers in your profession is important...this is one of those times when Facebook is brilliant
  • Reach out to the community when you have a need, you'll be surprised by the results
  • Never be afraid to say, "we can't afford that, would you be willing to donate _____ to the library?
  • Reach out to your peers within your area or consortium--SEO has been so great for that, both the staff and the listserv which puts me in direct contact with over 80 other directors all over the state! 
  • Vendors, though they're pitching something, they're people too; be kind to them
  • It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission; as a new person you can play the clueless card to your advantage for a bit
  • Be honest with your Board, they'll respect you.
  • Be honest with your patrons/community, but remember that you don't have to show all your cards
  • ALWAYS send hand written notes to donors and at least a form tax deduction letter (though I include a personalized note on these too) to organizations/businesses that help you in ANY way
  • Don't be afraid of over advertising your library to the local papers/websites/news stations, especially if you live in a small, rural area...what other news is there? The corn growing?!
  • A strong support system of friends to talk about work objectively with is key
  • Have good tunes on your work computer for the hours leading up to opening
  • Occasionally love on your staff with notes or cookies
  • Drinking lots of coffee can make a lot of things better
  • Laugh often


Kt said…
Hi again from the vast beyond! It's been a while since I had a chance to read your blog. All of these are great lessons, especially "smile" and "laugh." Applicable everywhere. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes - "We don't laugh because we're happy; we're happy because we laugh." -William James.

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