Not being a librarian in the professional sense for three weeks has left me a bit terse, compounded by the fact that transitioning to a new job and living space leaves little time for anything but trying to remember a deluge of new names and barrel through residual exhaustion. Suffice to say I’ve learned my bus routes and farmer’s markets, which is all I need to know for now. Joining a new organization is always a bit of a whirlwind, but thus far I’ve found my coworkers to be everything I expected and more – intelligent, gracious, welcoming, and already forthcoming with beautiful Bay Area produce (thanks, Aija). In other words, they are librarians, and as ever I am glad to be among them. My desk in Moffitt Library looks out a huge window on a nice sunken courtyard (a not uncommon redeeming feature of the pervasive, hulking late 60s/early 70s academic structures of the Brutalist variety). I miss my Ohio University colleagues very much, and the sounds of our cubicle farm still echo in my ears. In all seriousness, their creativity, commitment to service, and general effectiveness will be both inspiration and benchmark in all of my endeavors.
My new position at UC Berkeley is a wide-ranging one. As E-Learning Librarian I will be involved in a variety of instructional/interface/technology design projects, including the library’s integration into the campus Sakai-based learning management system, bSpace. Another interesting problem to tackle is collaborating on an information service model for the Library’s subterranean stacks, a space I instinctively like but that (similar to the vast majority of physical collections) has little staff presence. I will also teach and work the reference desk, gladly. The New Directions project is a good indication of the climate of cultural and organizational self-reflection that the Berkeley Library has encouraged over the last few years, and I perceive my purpose here as contributing what I can to this initiative’s stated goal of “understand[ing] and adapt[ing] to the evolving information needs of our faculty and students.”
Of interest: This morning I came across a recently released online festscrift (also available as a LuLu pay-for-print) called Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow that flew under my moving chaos radar a little while back. Anne Grodzins was legendary at Berkeley and beyond, and the volume is edited by Roy Tennant with a number of engaging essays by the likes of Karen Schneider and a new colleague I met yesterday, fellow Austinite and apparent bbq aficionado John Kupersmith. Looking forward to this one.