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Movin’ Up and Movin’ Out

July 8, 2015

First of all, I just want to say how happy I am to have been part of the Omaha Public Library system. It’s filled with awesome people who have really amazing, grand-scale ideas about librarianship and our role in the community. I’m excited to be part of this place. Like, jump up and dance all crazy-like excited.

I started at OPL in March as an Aide. “Aide” is OPL’s term for “page” or “shelver.” That’s right – I went from managing a village library’s online presence and other digital services to putting books away and doing other materials handling tasks.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Not only do I think there is merit in moving your way up through an organization from the proverbial “mail room” to the “board room” (but ohmygosh I don’t know if I ever want to be an actual board member), but there are things about a library that you get a better understanding of when you’re walking the proverbial front line. What workflows work best? What times of day are the busiest for various departments?

At some point, you need to walk away from the collection development Excel sheets of data (and you know I love my Excel sheets of data) and walk through the stacks. Take some time to shelf-read, as tiresome a task as that can be. Face out some titles and see if they’re still face-out a week later, of if they have been snatched up.

OPL promoted me to Adult Library Specialist in May, which means I get to do reference desk work as well as plan programming. So, of course, I have a monthly gaming program planned to start in September, as well as a Dr. Who craft planned for August.

Unfortunately, I won’t be around to see either of these programs to fruition – we’re moving this month to Alabama. I’m sure that had we stayed here in Nebraska, I could have climbed the library ladder into a professional position, but I’m getting the feeling that this move means another slide down the chute to start again at a lower level.

But hey – I don’t mind getting my foot in the door by shelving books. I know I’ll climb up again given time and the roll of the dice.

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