Now we come to the portion of the show where we consider the future, and the struggle to get there successfully.
Issue the First: Manpower
Solo librarians, consider this your bat signal. Having only been a solo since mid October, I do not have any of the tricks up my sleeve that I think/hope/pray the more tenured solo librarians out there have. I am the only librarian, and beside myself I have an assistant available 10 hours a week. My on campus time has been limited this semester, and I think I’ll need to increase it where I can (allowing for the fact that I work 40 hours a week elsewhere and have family to raise). So, what’s a girl to do? We have to get this project motoring, but I need all the efficiency I can get.
Issue the Second: Catalog software you are not, Excel.
Bless the libraries who are able to keep their whole catalog on Excel. We are not a large school, but large enough that my computer slows to the point of nearly crashing trying to open the complete catalog when working on the shelf read. That’s problematic. Not to mention, the spreadsheet I inherited is something of a mess in terms of call numbers. We may have to push up the implementation of an OPAC. Poking into it, the initial thought to go open source may have to be given up– there’s just too much lack of technical know how, and there’s always the fear of a single point of failure. Then too, there is a monetary cost associated with a commercial product. The pros and cons on both sides are currently being evaluated; any word in favor of a particular system would be greatly appreciated.
Issue the Third: Tempus Fugit
Time does, indeed, fly. Our current pace will have us finishing the shelf read several decades from now. Our goal is to have it finished in the next 3-4 semesters. Clearly, something has to give. A portion of my work this semester has been spent drafting policy, getting schedules under control, and sorting through logistics. Winter and summer will see an increased presence on campus. Would I rather be at home in the evening after work? Sure, who wouldn’t. But this work is important to me too.
I was chatting with my brother and father a few nights ago about our respective lives and the stories we have to tell. So often, the three of us will make a passing remark about an experience we’ve had and people will marvel that we’ve had time. Dad said it best “It’s good to have stories, but you have to go DO to have them.” We’ve barely closed the first chapter on our story here.