Confessions of a Rookie Data Librarian

My first year on the job

Wrap up

Its the Sunday before summer session starts and I’m writing this final post from the reference desk. The library is pretty quiet (there’s literally nobody here) so I figured it’d be a good time to write. Three Saturdays ago marked my one-year anniversary of being FSU’s data librarian. The purpose of this blog was to reflect on my experiences as a first year librarian. I did this because it’s something that I thought folks in library school would enjoy reading since I enjoyed similar types of things when I was working toward my MLIS. This is the first time I’ve ever blogged and I couldn’t have been more self-conscious about it (I still am). Sharing my thoughts for the internet to digest was something I’ve never been too comfortable with but I’m learning to embrace (and actually like) it. I was reading over this blog in its entirety this morning and, while I know I’m not much of a wordsmith, I was happy with what I saw and am glad that I challenged myself to do this.

In the beginning, I was a pretty good job of periodically sharing my thoughts on here but it looks like I haven’t posted since January. Too much has happened over the past five months to summarize in a blog post  but I imagine that’s why I’ve fallen off the radar a bit. So, I won’t try to do that.This past year was everything I expected and more. I’m working in a job that still feels very new to me and every day is still exciting. That being said, there is a level of comfort associated with approaching something for the second time.

Summer is conference season and this year I’ll be traveling instead of getting adjusted to a new position. I’ll be headed up to Minneapolis in June for the IASSIST annual conference, which is geared toward folks working with information technology and data services to support research and leaning in the social sciences. This will be my first national or international conference.

Also, I’ll be giving my first conference presentation at the Florida Library Association annual conference this year on “The Power of Open Data!”. I did a lightning round at a local conference when I was a staff member but this is my first break out session. I’m really excited about this presentation because it discuss the benefits and utility of open data for academic and public librarians. Come to think of it, FLA will be my first state conference as well.

Like I said earlier, I’m approaching this second year with a bit more confidence and a lot better of an understanding of what I want to help my organization accomplish. Writing this blog was a great experience but I think it’s served its purpose. I’ll keep these posts up here for anyone interested but will likely be making a new professional website this summer. I’ll be sure to blast that on Twitter once it’s up and running!

For those who followed along, I really appreciate it. Hope it was as much fun to read as it was to write.

Cheers,

–@Renaino

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Enjoy it while it lasts

My inspiration for this post came to me while I was scarfing down sushi from the student union. It was between meetings and I was sitting on a park bench while taking in a beautiful but crisp Tallahassee afternoon. While people watching and enjoying a quick bite to eat, I was thinking about how much my workflow and daily routine have changed since I started my position back in late April.

In previous posts, I talked about how grateful I was that I was afforded significant time to research and develop new services and programs. This was especially important because this is my first professional position. I didn’t have too many job responsibilities other than my liaison duties and it was up to me (sort of) to figure out where data services would grow. Almost every single morning would start off the same. I would, methodically, comb through lists of library journals, mining them for articles on data librarianship and/or data services while sipping on my morning coffee. I’d also comb through library websites and see what other folks were up to. As long as I didn’t have any other obligations, I’d do this for a couple of hours, everyday.

Personally, I found the blogs of other data librarians, like Kristin Briney’s blog Data Ab Initio, to be the most useful sources of inspiration. This is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog.

I knew this wouldn’t last long because, if I did my job right, I’d be way to busy to spend time doing R&D at my current level. These days, time at the office is mostly dedicated to actually doing stuff like going to meetings, research consultations, committees and other fun library things. Oh yeah, I also have a full time staff member now that reports to me. This is exciting and an important step in my professional development, but I feel an overwhelming sense of obligation to make sure I give them my best. The reason I’m a data librarian and working in a field I love, is because my supervisor facilitated my interest in the craft when I was a staff member. He encouraged me to try new things, told me not to worry about failure and he always made sure I had opportunities to be successful. Now it’s my turn to make sure she has those same opportunities.

Obviously, I still do research. Data management and librarianship in general move so fast that it’s impossible to stay on top of everything without investing significant time reading articles, blogs and other forms of scholarship. Now, I do it at home on my iPad or on Saturday mornings while I’m watching the news (OK, I’m watching cartoons). Right now, I’m busier than I have ever been in my professional life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Things I’m excited about in 2015

Hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are excited about the beginning of a new year! Usually, I’m not a big fan of New Years resolutions but I figured making a few professionally related ones wouldn’t be a bad idea. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to post more on this blog. This is the last semester of my first year as FSU’s data librarian and the goal of this blog was chronicle this new chapter in my career .

I’m going to use this post to tell you what I’m excited about in 2015.

Being more organized

I’ve always been a clipboard and legal pad kind of guy. It’s simple, it works and legal pads are easy to find. I’ve actually had the same one since I worked in construction management back in 2008. I ordered this clipboard for myself, took it with me to graduate school and every other job since then. At the time, toting around a clipboard made sense. I was wandering around a job site, taking notes, and I needed something sturdy to write on. Why I kept it for so long after that was something I never really understood. Maybe it reminded me of where I came from (notice the union sticker at the bottom). Maybe I just liked to knock it against things nonchalantly while I walked around (sorry).

clipboard<< said clipboard

Anyway, I think it might be time to utilize digital tools like Trello to keep track of projects and other things at work. The only time I went through all of my notes was when it was time to swap in a fresh legal pad. I’m hoping using a digital tool will urge me to check on old to do lists and notes more often.

I picked Trello because it’s something we’ve been using a little bit around here for some projects so I already had a general understanding of how it worked. Like my colleague said at lunch yesterday, it doesn’t matter what tool you use for organization. All that matters is that you’re using one.

Digital Scholarship

I’ve already mentioned this before, but FSU Libraries now has a full-time digital scholarship coordinator. This is exciting news for everyone here because we’ve been dabbling in digital scholarship for a while now and it’s a direction that our library, and many others, are moving towards. To be honest, I’m not even 100% sure I know what digital scholarship exactly is, but I won’t let that deter my enthusiasm. Instead of having a digital scholarship department or unit, our projects will utilize existing subject and functional specialists under the direction of the coordinator, a mobile and agile approach. In short, more cool digital scholarship stuff is on the horizon and I’m looking forward to being part of it.

Traveling

I was settling into this position last summer so I wasn’t really able to take advantage of “conference season”. This summer, I’ll be attending the Florida Library Association Annual Conference, in May and doing a breakout session titled “The Power of Open Data!”, which I’m really looking forward to. I want to write a post specifically about that later since a program like this is an idea I’ve been toying with since library school, but the goal is to put together a session that appeals to both academic and public librarians and showcases the power and utility of free and open data.

In June, I’ll be headed up to Minneapolis for my first ever IASSIST Conference. I’ve only been an IASSIST member for a couple of months but am looking forward to going to a venue filled with other data librarians and other like minded professionals! Since I’m so new to this field, I just want to attend and take as much in as I possibly can.

DMPTool

I’m saving the best for last: FSU is officially an institutional member of DMPTool!, This means that we can add custom resources to the landing page for our researchers. Also, it utilizes single sign on so that people can log in with their FSU username and password. If you’ve never heard of DMPTool before, I’d encourage you to check it out as it’s a fantastic resource for creating data management plans.

Last semester, we showed DMPTool to folks in our data management workshops and classroom sessions describing how it would look after we became an institutional member and now we’ll be able to show them the finished product.

dmptool

There’s plenty more to be excited about but these are the high points. What are you looking forward to the most in 2015?

Update from the data management front

This semester seems like it’s been flying by! Before we know it, finals week will be at our doorstep.

Over the summer and during the first couple weeks of fall semester , I did my best to take advantage of every opportunity I could find to let people know that data services is something the library is moving towards and it’s something that they should be excited about. When speaking to faculty members, I made sure to let them know that they can contact the Libraries for help if they have to write a data management plan as part of a grant proposal. Since this service was brand new and we didn’t have any success stories to share yet, I focused on the fact that classifying, preserving and making things discoverable was in the Libraries’ wheelhouse and that data management was a natural extension of our existing services.

So far, we’ve had three faculty members take us up on our offer to help write a data management plan. Two were for NIH funding proposals and one was from NSF. Having these folks “walk through the door”, so to speak, really forced us to implement a workflow on the fly. Our three consultations were pretty much structured alike:

  1. An initial meeting with the researcher to discuss the proposal and expected data outputs. This first meeting usually consisted of a condensed talk on best practices in data management and the benefits of publicly available research data. We’d end by showing them DMPTool and having them create an account. We’d also ask to be collaborators once they completed their initial draft.
  2. The two of us (Micah and I) would work through the actual plan and ensure that all of the requirements asked of the DMP were being met. We’d usually beef up the sections on data sharing, access and discoverability.
  3. We’d meet again with the researcher, discuss the results and make any last-minute adjustments before they submitted their proposal.

Now that we’ve got a couple of consultations under our belt, I feel more comfortable promoting these types of services. If a few of our researchers win their grants, we’ll have some serious work on our hands. How we’ll provide actual data management services (beyond writing the plan) is something that our organization will need to take into careful consideration. It seems apparent that data management compliance requires much more effort than the actual plan. Luckily for us, we have a diverse team of folks who have the ability to execute services like this at a high level. At this point, we just need the opportunity.

We’ve been giving “best practices in data management” talks all over campus trying to spread the word about why data management (especially data sharing) is important. We’ve provided sessions at our Office of Sponsored Research as well as in classroom settings. These classes are usually some sort of “responsible conduct in research” courses since data management is already a relevant part of that curriculum. I believe that bringing our discussion out of the library is much more effective than providing in house lectures and workshops. That being said, the seven people who attended our two workshops were inquisitive and engaged. Personally, I don’t mind giving a workshop with low attendance as long as somebody gets something out of it and I think they did. In the spring, I’d like to offer this type of workshop 4-5 five times a semester instead of two. The market for data management talks isn’t saturated so why not do more to maximize exposure?

I’m interested to see what other data people are doing out there so please feel free to leave comments or contact me via Twitter @Renaino. One last thing: there’s a brand new blog out there for data librarians to share resources and strategies related to our field. It’s called Databrarians and run by Celia Emmelhainz. Be sure to check it out!

As the dust settles…

I haven’t written in over a month so I really just want to get something down. Like I’ve said before, this blog is my attempt to capture my first year as an academic librarian. In other words, a medium to explain to my folks what it is exactly that I do for a living as well as document the “first times” of my new field.

Last time I posted, I was coming back from an ICPSR workshop and eager to get together a “data services working group” to help craft new data services at the libraries. Since then, none of that has happened. When I started this summer, I wanted to get involved with as many projects as I could to make sure that I had enough work to do. Essentially, I wasn’t too sure what the fall semester would be like and I wanted to keep myself busy. I’ve managed to successfully do that and some.

I knew there would be several “firsts” for me this semester but that doesn’t make it any less exciting for me. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  1. First library instruction session (actually, I’ve done quite a few of these at this point)
  2. Created and delivered a workshop on utilizing open economic data sets with a professor in our Economics department for their course in Analysis of Economic Data.
  3.  Spoke with a group of young scientists at a student symposium for the Deep-C Consortium about the stewardship of scientific data sets
  4. Put on a workshop on best practices in research data management
  5. Provided an actual data management consultation. We helped a researcher applying for a NIH grant put together their required data sharing plan.

Right now, I don’t have enough time to put together a data services team or a long-term plan because I’m so busy actually providing data services! That being said, I still need to go back to the drawing board and assemble my crew. I’ll probably have more perspective once I’m able to get my group together. Also, I’ll be able to evaluate what we’re already doing well and where we can expand our services.

Also, I’ve been doing my best to get a grasp on my roles and responsibilities as a “traditional” librarian. In addition to being the data librarian, I have liaison responsibilities in the social sciences so I have to figure out all of the simple things like how to actually order a book from someone or learning about the various citation management tools that we have to offer. Sometimes, balancing the role of subject librarian and functional specialist can be tricky but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get easily bored and don’t like working on the same things for long periods of times.

So far, this job has been everything I thought it would be and more. I’ve established some solid relationships with faculty in my subject areas and, consequently, have created all sorts of fun projects for myself. Most importantly, it looks like this whole data services thing is finally getting off of the ground. I know it’s only been about five months but I’m motivated by results so I’m glad to see some of these things start to pan out.

I’m very interested in documenting the the process of forming a data services team and developing a service strategy for data services at FSU Libraries. As soon as I actually get around to doing that, I’ll be sure to let you all know!

Thanks for reading,

–Renaine

 

The start of the semester

I’m writing this post during a Sunday afternoon of sipping homemade cold-brew coffee and catching up on miscellaneous work stuff. Monday is the first day of the fall semester at Florida State and last time I posted, I was getting back from a data services workshop at the University of Michigan. Before I really had any time to take in all of the training I received, we were right in the middle of graduate student orientation. This meant outreach opportunities in my liaison areas. Furthermore, our department also  had several outreach events related to graduate student orientation. In addition to creating a data services plan for the upcoming year, this made for a busy week.

Actually, this was an important week. All of those outreach events compacted in such a short time span meant that the activities of a few days would dictate my workflow for the entire semester and even the whole school year. It was an opportunity to introduce myself to faculty and students in my subject areas. and let them know how the libraries can help them and contribute to their success. This included attending graduate student orientation events in specific departments as well as attending a faculty meeting in another. I also made an appearance at an orientation event outside of my liaison responsibilities talking about data services. I’ve noticed some immediate dividends being paid as a result of last week’s efforts. I’ve had several data research consultations as well as a couple of classroom presentations all scheduled for next week, the first week of classes.

I managed to get recruit for my data services working group (see previous post for background) and will give them a formal invitation soon. There’s a diverse skill set needed to provide comprehensive data services. Initially, our focus will be on the social sciences It is suggested that a social data services team have talents in the following areas:

  1. Information Management
  2. Computing
  3. Service Philosophy (customer service)
  4. Social Science Research Methodology
  5. Statistical Analysis

I tried to form a team that could fill in the gaps of the required sets of skills. I have an extensive background in customer service and my academic background is primarily in the social sciences. I have other folks with strong customer service backgrounds as well as another social science librarian involved but also invited people with strong quantitative skills and people with strong computing skills, specifically a developer. The group ended up being larger than anticipated (9 people, including myself) but I think the size of the group will enhance diversity and capture a wide range of specialties.

I plan to defer a formal meeting until I have a better outline of the services that we’ll provide. I should be ready in a week or two. Providing a solid framework and bringing a lot to the table initially will allow the group to be creative and bring forth new ideas and perspectives.

Like I said in previous posts, this blog is really just a way to capture the happenings of my first year in a brand new position. I’ll usually just focus on what I’m working on which will likely change from week to week. That being said, time to finish this coffee and get in a quick workout. Thanks for reading!

Assemble your crew

Last week, I attended a workshop put on by ICPSR titled “Providing Social Science Data Services: Strategies for Design and Operation”. This was something I’ve had my eye on ever since I accepted my position at FSU back in April. As somebody charged with planning and implementing data services that focused initially in the social sciences, it seemed like a perfect opportunity. When I got back on campus to get started, I was approached by our department head asking if it was something I was interested in. Awesome. It was a five day workshop that that ran from 9a-5p and touched virtually every aspect of social science data services in libraries.

This post is my attempt to talk about main takeaways from my experience. The workshop itself was hosted on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor so the weather was absolutely gorgeous. This Florida boy could get used to those crisp mornings! Also, the three instructors were all experienced data librarians who have been delivering social science data services for quite some time. It’s always nice to have somebody who’s actually done it before to show you the way. Anyway, we had a syllabus but I was still a little bit unsure of what to expect. As indicated in my previous post, I spent most of my summer researching data services at other institutions as well as getting a feel for the data environment here at FSU. I was hoping this workshop, combined with my research, would provide me with a spring board to get rolling on starting up these new programs.

On the first day, we focused on big picture things like: what are social science data services as well as data and the research life cycle. At one point, we were provided with a matrix of data services and given a theoretical framework for tiers of service that a library could provide.  Data services were split up into four main categories: preservation services, user services, collection services and access services. Within these four areas, there are several levels of services that an institution can provide. For example: User services can range from proving instruction on how to find census data all the way to assisting patrons with data visualization and analysis. One point that was driven home really resonated with me: each institution is going to have their own mix of services. Some schools have entire departments working to providing these programs and others have one data librarian. Furthermore, some organizations have a librarian who does data but is also to serve in other, more traditional library like reference or subject liaison responsibilities.  I fall into the latter category as I serve as the subject specialist for Geography, Urban Planning and Economics in addition to being the data librarian. Turns out, I’m not the only one facing these types of demands. Actually, they’re opportunities because I thoroughly enjoy my liaison responsibilities and like the idea of developing engaging relationships in those areas.

Back to the workshop: we spent the next three days really diving into what I like to call the “meat and taters” of data services. The workshop itself went back and forth between brief lectures and hands-on/collaborative exercises. I have say, our instructors did a fantastic job of putting the course materials together and making all of this information digestible. We learned about tons of great open data sources as well as commercial products. Obviously, we learned about all of the resources in ICPSR as well. Data collection development and drafting collection development policies was a focal point during the second day. Throughout the week we touched on topics I was well versed in, like research data management, and others I didn’t know too much about, like preservation and creating metadata for datasets.

While the instruction was great, the most beneficial thing to come of my week in Ann Arbor are the new relationships I formed with the folks who attended the workshop. Some were starting new services and others revamping or remodeling their existing services. It was nice to meet so many people in the same shoes as me and now I have people I actually know to bounce ideas off of and vice versa. We even have our very own listserv now! In my attempt to become a self promoter, I told them about all of the cool stuff we’re working on at Florida State. I think telling everyone what I’m doing will end up working as a method of holding myself accountable. Our group

Throughout the week we were reminded that nobody can do it all. If you have one data librarian, then you essentially have to pick which services best serve our target audiences and focus on that. Every institution has their own level of service that they can provide to their students and faculty and it is largely contingent on time and resources. Our final day focused on recapping on what we learned in order to take this momentum back to our respective institutions.  Drafting a rough outline of a data services plan was part of this. We spent the rest of afternoon bouncing our ideas off of each other in small groups. After that, we all said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways.

source: monkeyjenkins on imgur.com

So, what are we going to concentrate on at FSU? I’m not too sure yet. I know we’re going to probably focus on user services, like finding and using data sources as well as teaching other librarians how to incorporate data sources into their research consultations and instructions sessions. This seems like a logical first step. I know data literacy and research data management will be something that we continue to work on too. The rest is somewhat up in the air. In my opinion, data services are a combination of public services and digital scholarship, meaning there are lots of people at my institution who may already provide some sort of service related to data in their current roles. The last thing I want to do is draft a data services plan in a vacuum and neglect the talents and insights of my colleagues. Our instructors constantly reminded us that no one person has all of the skills needed to provide a comprehensive suite of data services. I’m thinking that forming a data services working group or something along those lines would be the best way mock up a first draft. So, like any good team builder, I’m off to assemble my crew…

#icpsr2014

The Summer of Data!

Photo Source: mehtaphysical.com

Last Friday marked three months since I began work as FSU’s data services librarian. Like my 7th grade PE coach always said, “time flies when you’re having fun”. As I was preparing to come back to Florida State back in April, I really wanted to read Michael Watkins’ book The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders. I never ended up doing that but I sort of got the gist of what the whole 90 day thing was all about. Basically, you have a limited amount of time where you have significantly more influence. Consider this that “new librarian smell”. I needed to start working on building my network right away before this wore off. My theory was, I’m brand new on campus and I work in a brand new position, so who wouldn’t want to know what I was up to? More importantly, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?

Turns out, I was right. One thing I wanted to work on right out of the gate was establishing some sort of service for research data management, specifically data management planning. Luckily for me, our Scholarly Communications Librarian was already paving the way long before my arrival by making some contacts on campus and creating a research guide on data management. I had a partner from day one. He suggested that I work with other stakeholders on campus to get a feel for what’s out there and who would like to partner with us. Getting on this right away was paramount and, as anticipated, folks over at our Research Computing Center as well as our Office of Proposal Development were excited that the Libraries were interested in tackling data management at the campus level. Now that  we have a foundation, the Libraries can begin work toward centralizing research data management efforts.

One cool thing about my position is that, in addition to implementing data services, I am also a subject specialist for three social science disciplines: Economics, Geography and Urban Planning. Building relationships with the faculty in my areas was one of my top priorities but was something that I was intimidated by. Were these people going to even give me the time of day? Most of my interactions with faculty have been as a student and I still felt like one since I just graduated.

I sort of inherited Economics from our government documents librarian so that was easy. After an initial meeting, I found out that their faculty liaison to the libraries (a newer faculty member specializing in behavioral economics) was very interested in the idea of data services, specifically, the Libraries purchasing data sets for their projects. Now we’re Twitter buds and as it turns out, we’re both data junkies and huge sports fans (think fantasy sports).

With Geography and Urban Planning, I had to pave my own way as the liaisons to that area had moved on to other positions. I reached out to the chair of our Geography department and he was receptive and eager to meet me (that new librarian smell I guess). We talked about my background in social sciences and my enthusiasm toward geographic information systems (GIS). Urban Planning was a breeze. I graduated form FSU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning in 2011 and their incoming department chair just so happened to be my major professor (I’ll reserve how a Planning student becomes a librarian for another post).

Establishing these departmental contacts allowed me to disseminate a customized .pdf that briefly highlighted some of our key services. Basically, I drafted the document, attached it to an email and asked my department contacts to distribute it to their department’s faculty and students (simple right?). Here’s an example of the one I created for Geography. Since then, I’ve gotten some direct emails for research consultations. Since I haven’t had a formal opportunity to introduce myself to students in my subject areas, this is probably how they got my contact information.

Photo Source: http://www.sideprojectprofit.com/

For me, the best way to form a relationship is to find some sort of common ground like GIS or sports data. So why are building these relationships so important? As subject librarians, outreach, library instruction, and collection development are core parts of what we do. It can be a bit awkward to try to meet up with someone or shoot them an email in attempts to scheduling an instruction session in their classroom when you’ve never even had a conversation with them before! I’ve been invited to speak at departmental faculty meetings as well as new student orientations in the upcoming fall semester so that I can help publicize what we do to a larger audience.

I’ve never been a fan of the “Field of Dreams” approach to any type of public service so these relationships provide a platform for development. It creates a two way street. Faculty will be more receptive to new services and programs if it’s something tailored to their research interests or the needs of their students.

My first 90 days on the job was mostly about researching and networking. Hopefully, I’ve been laying a solid foundation for data services as well as new and innovative library services for my subject areas. Next week, I’m heading up to the University of Michigan for an ICPSR workshop on providing social science data services. I consider this the capstone or grand finale of my summer of data. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to talk about my expectations and learning objectives for this workshop between now and then.

Becoming a “Professional”

Since I was 15 years old, I’ve never been unemployed. Although it is a combination of hard work and a considerable amount of luck, it’s something that I’m proud of. By my own definition, I’ve always considered myself a professional. For example, my first job was at a local pizza place working as a line cook making pizzas and all sorts of delicious stuff. It was my job, I got paid to do it, and I was pretty damned good at it. So, in essence, I was a professional pizza cook, right? Well, I was a cook for a about fifteen hours a week, but I spent most of my time working towards my high school diploma so I could change “professions”. Tossing pies was fun, but it wasn’t going to be my career.

Merriam-Webster defines a professional as someone who does a job that requires special training, education or skill, somebody that is a member of a profession. So, going back to our pizza shop example, if I was a certified chef (The owner actually was) then I would have been considered a professional, by the Merriam-Webster definition. For somebody under 30 years old, I’ve held a lot of jobs but have never attained that rank of “professional”. I’ve worked in construction as a laborer as well as a project coordinator but wasn’t an certified electrician or project manager. I use to work at a geotechnical engineering firm, running lab tests and working in the field testing soil density and concrete specifications, but I worked for an engineer. More recently, I’ve worked in academic libraries in several different roles (see previous post), but never as a librarian.

Now that I’ve reached this nebulous attainment of “professional”, it has me thinking of what that means to me. Well, one thing I’ve noticed is that nobody really tells you what to do. I mean, I was given goals and expectations by my supervisor whenever I started and we still meet time to time but I’m given discretion as to the method of accomplishing them. For example, in my liaison work, I am expected to engage faculty and students in my areas (Geography, Urban Planning and Economics) and am given examples of successful engagement, but as far as far as execution is concerned, that is largely up to me. The same goes for implementing data services. That’s what I was hired to do, but since such a set of programs doesn’t exist yet at FSU, it’s up to me to develop an approach and follow through with it.

Another librarian actually started on the same day as me and this subject keeps coming up, which is why I wanted to write on it. We both find it challenging to prioritize our projects and make our own schedule sometimes with so many competing interests. For me, I’m use to squeezing in projects into my day to day routine. Not on the desk? OK, work on project x or project y for an hour. Now, I often have entire days without anything meeting or service point obligations. For now, I have been given considerable amounts of time to do research and planning. I want to take advantage of this time because I know it won’t last long.

Other than capturing thoughts and experiences of my first year as a librarian, I don’t have much of an agenda for this blog. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about why I became a librarian and I’ll also touch on some of the things I’m working on.  Thanks for reading!

Why start a blog?

I’ve always kept tons and tons of journals, notepads and other things to chronicle my experiences in life, both personal and professional but I’ve never really had my own blog. I just didn’t see the utility and never felt like I had the time. At the end of April, I started working at Florida State University as their first Data Research Librarian, which is something I’ve been working toward for quite some time.

Whenever I was working toward my MLIS, I would take the time to read “tales” from seasoned librarians on how they navigate through their work lives but particularly enjoyed hearing about experiences of the n00b librarians. Since I knew (or hoped!) that I would be in their shoes  one day, I found reading about their journey exciting. So, I guess, in a way, this is my way of giving back and hopefully providing something insightful and mildly entertaining to read for library school students and new librarians.

Whenever I started here at FSU, I promised myself I would create a blog simply for the purpose of documenting my first year as an academic librarian. There are so many things I want to accomplish and I think blogging about my aspirations and accomplishments will allow me to assess my first year on the job.

I’ve worked in academic libraries prior to becoming a librarian and have served in several capacities including: student assistant, overnight services coordinator, circulation and reserves supervisor and was even a library security supervisor at one point! But this is different. I’m a real life librarian now. This job is by far the most exciting professional endeavor of my short career and I wanted to share my thoughts with you!

Cheers,

–Renaine