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.

One thought on “My year long blogcation”

  1. *Rings bell*, starts hollering “Bring out yer dead.” Andrew says, “I’m not dead yet, it’s only a flesh wound.”

    Wow, 365 days without a post. That IS awesome. Glad to have you back, Andrew. It looks like you’ve had a busy year. I look forward to hearing more from you on this blog.

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