Week in the life of a small academic library director

I've enjoyed reading the various Library Day in the Life posts this week. I thought I would add my two cents, but in different format. Instead of a single day, here is an overview of my entire week. I will probably attempt the actual day in the life post once the semester gets into swing. That's when my life is most interesting. Summers are a hodgepodge of boring back office stuff.


  • Updated information about new MLA and APA styles on web site
  • Installed new barcode wand on first circulation computer and replaced the broken cord on the barcode wand on the second circulation computer
  • Met with Physical Plant Director about roof leak
  • Began to write staff performance appraisals
  • Notified everyone working in the building of the problem with the A/C chiller and Physical Plant's timeframe for the fix
  • Wrote narrative describing library resources supporting the athletic training curriculum as part of a self-study team for program re-accreditation


  • Updated content on athletic training subject guide on web site
  • Posted draft minutes of RUSA Reference Services Section's Web Advisory Committee to ALA Connect and emailed to appropriate RSS folks
  • Sent email welcoming new member who has agreed to join RUSA MARS Local Systems & Services
  • Posted draft minutes of Local Systems & Services Committee to ALA Connect and emailed to new member not yet in the system
  • Created a planning document in ALA Connect for our discussion forum on the local customization and evaluation of discovery services to be held at Midwinter in Boston
  • Ran a wide variety of reports on circulation statistics of unbound and bound journals
  • Met with Director of Academic Resource Center to learn about the positive changes being made to the football study tables that are held in the library during fall semester
  • Re-iterated my philosophy that "fear of theft" is not a criterion for collection development


  • Signed authorizations for bill payment and entered amounts into my budget tracking spreadsheet.
  • Continued to write performance appraisals
  • Met with faculty member coordinating the last class in our Arts & Humanities sequence to refine library instruction objectives from last semester
  • Reviewed the final details of the DVD relocation and reclassification (from Dewey to LC) project
  • Reviewed existing processing workflow of serials and the long standing circulation policy of serials (Circ stats are low, time investment in front/backend processing is high, rationale for circulating is no longer valid in my opinion..again fear of theft and cutting.)
  • Met with Computer Services staff to learn what network services will still be available to the second year (were DC now are Northwest State) students in our 1+2+1 nursing program with Northwest State Community College 


  • Met with circulation supervisor and A/V coordinator to plan for student worker needs for coming academic year and talk about potential for cross-training students to work circulation and A/V tech support
  • Reviewed existing loan rules, loan rule limiter table, and what authorizations our students have in Millennium with circulation supervisor in order to submit a request to OPAL Help to enact the policy change to no longer circulate serials
  • Met with faculty member coordinating Master of Arts in Education graduate program to finalize process for loading theses into the OhioLINK Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Center
  • Created authorization form and letter to be sent to targeted past graduates to obtain permission to digitize their theses to load into the ETD Center
  • Emailed and then talked on the phone with the Assistant Dean for Adult and Graduate Programs to initiate process with OhioLINK for Defiance College to join the ETD Center


  • Reviewed our current statistics of missing items and discussed the "search for missing item process" with circulation supervisor
  • Walked the stacks for 15 minutes and found six of the missing books (go me!)
  • Learned via email that I chose wisely during database funding reconstruction. The Library will be paying a larger percentage than in the past, but our students and faculty will still have access to specific discipline databases. 
  • Exchanged emails with OhioLINK about our request to join the ETD Center
  • Met with circulation supervisor about student worker evaluation process
  • Continued to write staff performance appraisals
  • Submitted request to OPAL Help to make necessary changes to specific loan rules to enact our policy change of making serials non-circulating

My ALA Annual 2009 schedule

Taking a year off from blogging has created an interesting situation. This post outlining my plans for Annual 2009 in Chicago is only one post away from the one I wrote last June listing what I intended to do at Annual 2008 in Anaheim. This should create a double take for future readers browsing my blog in chrono-order. No, I don’t think that many people browse my blog…but I can dream…

Here are my plans for Chicago. As always, there are multiple things I would love to do every spare minute of Annual. In reality, my brain gets fried and I tend to skip a session in the afternoon…so this is my optimistic schedule.

Let me know if you are going to be attending any of these events or feel free to say hello if you see me around.

Friday, July 10, 2009
3:30-4:30 PM – MARS Executive Committee I (New Chairs Orientation)

5:30-7:30 PM – MARS Happy Hour at Big Bar/Hyatt Regency

Saturday, July 11, 2009
8:00-10:30 AM – RSS Open House and Web Advisory Committee

10:30-Noon – FYE: Connecting First-Year College Students with the Library. Not holding my breath that I can make it to McCormick…so I may end up at Information Commons Discussion Group.

1:30-3:00 PM – Discussion Group: Open Source
I have no clue what this is going to be about, but it is being sponsored by RUSA Reference Services Section.

3:30-5:00 PM – Instruction Section Current Topics Discussion I: Teacher Proficiencies: Applying Proficiency Standards for Instruction Librarians in Your Library

Sunday, July 12, 2009
8:00-10:00 AM – MARS All Committee Meeting/Local Systems & Services Committee. I agreed to serve as chair for this year.

10:30-Noon – Instruction Section Current Topics Discussion II: Using Discovery-Based Learning to Engage Students with Information Literacy

Lunch with a friend

1:30-3:00 PM – College Library Directors Discussion Group

3:30-5:30 PM – You Got Me, Do You Like Me? Evaluating Next Generation Catalogs OR Illuminating New Instruction Research: Applying Research to Practice

4:00-5:30 PM 5th Annual Book cart Drill Team Championship

Monday, July 13, 2009
8:00-Noon – MARS Executive Committee II. Report out as Local Systems & Services Chair. I don’t think I’ll have to be there the entire time.

Lunch with a former OPAL colleague

1:30-3:00 PM – RUSA President’s Program: From the Book and Beyond: Interdisciplinary Readers’ Advisory

5:00-6:30 PM – PLA President’s Program and Awards Presentation featuring Cokie Roberts. I’m going for Cokie Roberts and not so much for the PLA Awards.

I’m not heading back to Ohio until Tuesday morning.

My year long blogcation

For the record, I am not dead. I have been on a blogcation…or maybe that is a blog-sabbatical…or maybe life just got busy and my use of alternate communication channels increased.

I’ve read a couple of posts over the last few days from other librarians feeling guilty about not tending to their blog as they would like. I didn’t intentionally plan on taking a year off. Like most of you, a lot of my communication has dispersed into various social media streams. You know the obvious culprits…Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, and del.icio.us. I did consider abandoning this blog, until I noticed that my site visit stats show that people are still tripping across content. The stats indicate that people are mostly “reading” the posts written about conference sessions. I guess I will keep the blog up for awhile and see if I can get into another posting groove (if only to buck the dead and dying blog trend that not many people are blogging about but lamenting on those other social channels).

In case you are curious, here is what I did during my year long blogcation…

  • Interviewed for a job and was not the successful candidate in June 2008. Oh to have national exposure. Knowing what I know now…it worked out for the best that I didn’t get the position.
  • Me in front of the Haunted MansionAttended ALA Annual 2008 in Anaheim (pictures). My first trip to SoCal and also to Disneyland. I realize that Anaheim isn’t representative of all of southern California, but I think I still prefer San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.
  • Right-sized the reference collection at MFPOW in July and August (pictures).
  • Received the Ohio Private Academic Library service award at the 10th OPAL Conference held at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus at the beginning of August.
  • Interviewed for a library director position in mid-August (yeah about two weeks before classes started). Was offered and accepted an excellent opportunity at Defiance College in northwest Ohio (35 miles from where I grew up).
  • Worked very hard to wrap-up projects and transition knowledge to colleagues and get the house sold in Zanesville during August and September.
  • Left my former position as Head of User Services at Muskingum College on September 30 and started as Director of Library and Informational Resources on October 1. I don’t recommend the “no downtime” plan when switching jobs. My preference would have been not to do it that way, but that’s how it worked out. I think I was able to pull it off, because I had family in the area (no need to find an apartment for a few weeks) and because both libraries are members of OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries…not the Online Programming yada yada group) and OhioLINK.
  • Accepted into the CLS College Library Directors Mentor Program and assigned a terrific mentor.
  • Wrote a successful application for a team from Defiance College to attend the CIC/NITLE/Project Kaleidoscope 2009 Learning Spaces and Technology Workshop for our learning commons renovation project.
  • Closed on the sale of the Zanesville house on Halloween. We didn’t make as much off of the sale as we had hoped, but still not complaining because we actually walked away with a check when most houses were not selling.
  • Looked at 12 houses in Defiance on November 1. Made an offer two days later on an empty 1960s two story that needed mostly cosmetic work and moved in on November 13. Moving company delivered our worldly possessions the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
  • Reworked the entire Pilgrim Library web site over Christmas break.
  • Attended the College Library Directors Mentor Program preceding Midwinter in Denver. Learned a lot about myself and what it takes to lead a smaller library. Perfected my elevator speech on how Defiance, Ohio was named.
  • Had a successful RSS Web Advisory committee meeting at Midwinter. My other committee meeting was not that successful. I was the only one that showed up for the MARS Local Systems & Services meeting. No one else on the committee came to Midwinter. I ended up going over and hanging out at the Publications committee table. Overall, Midwinter went well. Had a great conversation with Chris C. about the direction of the RUSA web site and how to align RSS content with the big picture.
  • February was cold and snowy and reminded me I had been gone from northwest Ohio winters for 20 years.
  • Took a convoluted set of flights to get from Detroit to Richmond, VA (return flights were yet a different route) in order to save money to attend the Learning Spaces & Technology workshop the first week of March. Brought back a lot of good ideas and validation that our initial planning for a learning commons was on the right track. My takeaways: wheels give permission to move and developing successful collaborative learning spaces is an iterative process that builds on incremental change. (pictures)
  • April was an intensive print reference rightsizing project to liberate floor space for a relocated computer lab and presenting on our learning commons sandbox project to faculty, staff, and new members of the board.
  • May brought news of the exact dollar amount I had to work with for our learning commons sandbox area…not leaving a lot of time to source and procure furniture.
  • Attend IUG 2009 back in sunny Anaheim in mid-May (felt like deja-vu since I had just been in Anaheim 11 months earlier). Conference and travel was paid for by OPAL since I had won the service award in 2008. It was my first IUG and probably my last IUG. I think it’s a good conference for systems librarians, catalogers, front-line circulation/access services folk, acquisitions folk, and public service librarians if you have your own III installation. I didn’t see a lot of value for reference librarians if you are on a shared catalog. (pictures…but none of the actual conference)
  • Collaborative sandboxJune was jam-packed with book shifting, removal of shelving, and taking a chainsaw to the separate reference and circulation desks to come up with a new solution. Take a look at my learning commons set on Flickr to get a feel for the transformation to date.

That about wraps up the overview of this last year. I really do plan on getting back into writing mode. There is a lot more I would like to write about the Learning Spaces & Technology workshop and my experiences from our learning commons project.

I hope you stick around or at least stumble upon a future post via your favorite search engine.