Friday, May 18, 2018

Seeing Things From The Other Side

So this month I started a new adventure that will give me a whole new perspective on public librarianship. Drum roll please.....

I am honored to be a newly-appointed member of my local public library's Board of Trustees!

So how did this come about? It's certainly not anything I had ever planned or even thought about doing. But one day I just happened to see a notice in the local paper that they had two openings to finish unexpired terms on the library board. I thought they might have trouble filling two spots, and maybe they'd like to have someone who had knowledge of library operations and ethics who had also been a long-time resident and library user. And for once, my age would not be a detriment as it is in job-hunting (everyone thinks children's librarians must be young, bubbly, and perky); compared to the typical board member I am on the younger side.

I wondered if it would be strange to have the employee of another library on the board, but when I posted the question to a librarian Facebook group, there was a surprising number of librarians who have served on other library boards, and all of them said it was a good experience. So I figured what the heck, it wasn't a huge commitment and could be a really good experience. So I sent in a letter of interest, interviewed with the board, and evidently they liked what I had to say, because this week I was sworn in and attended my first board meeting.

The oath I had to swear was a bit humorous. Not only did I have to swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution of the Commonwealth, and the by-laws of the library district, I also had to swear I had never participated in a duel and that I would not participate in any duels during my term of service 😂. Obviously duels were a big problem here at one point in history, and the oath has never been revised. 

The first board meeting I attended was short and sweet, with no major issues to discuss or decide. I admit I felt slightly out of place, with a bit of imposter syndrome triggered by receiving a very disappointing (and unnecessarily harsh) job rejection the day before that left my confidence quite shaken, but I began to feel more at easy by the end. 

I think this will be a really good experience, and being able to see things from the administrative side will help me better understand things that go on in the system where I'm employed and make me a better librarian in the future, as well as giving me the opportunity to serve my own community.

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