Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Surviving the first week of school

The first week of school is always a learning experience. Beyond chuckling at the bleary eyed students trudging off to 8 am classes the first day, beyond the confused freshman hunting in the library for their classrooms, and beyond the sheer exhaustion of getting through that first day is the fun of seeing old and new faces and getting caught up on everyone's life outside of school. Really!

Case in point, I had a student worker who was in Germany this spring with a group from the University. They went for four weeks and taught English in German schools. She came in and regaled us with tales of her trip and promised to bring some of her 1100 pictures so we could bask in her glory (my words, not hers). Another student spent her spring semester in Australia doing study abroad. It was a great experience and really gave her a renewed sense of being. Still another student has a job/internship waiting for her after graduation in December.

After finishing the schedule and verifying I have coverage in the resource center all of the hours the library is open, and juggling twelve individual class schedules and assorted additional student responsibilities, it is a relief for the first wave of students and workers to actually arrive. I have four new hires and a new graduate assistant. That translates to time spent training, filling out and filing paperwork, and making sure all of the personalities blend (or at least can work together). It's kind of fun to sit back and see how personalities compliment - or don't - and wonder which "alpha" worker/leader will emerge. Rarely do I need to intercede with the crew, but when the bulk of hires are girls .....

At this point, my mantra has been "where is your FWS paperwork" accompanied by "no paperwork, no paycheck next week." It is an effective mantra, and right now I have most of the completed paperwork. If I don't get it by Friday, the first week without a paycheck is usually the most convincing argument on my side.

Handouts and pathfinders are done for two classes at the end of the week and a Mock Caldecott session for next Tuesday. A web page for the session will follow. I am gleefully in the process of placing another children's book order and planning new things to buy for the library including, but not limited to, Ellison dies, a new book shelf for new books, another stool on wheels for reaching high shelves, and videos for professors.

On the professional front, I am working with a librarian at a nearby university setting up a professional library blog. It is already a learning experience. Two other librarians and I will be submitting proposals to LOAX and ACRL for a session and poster session respectively. It is time to seriously work on the upgrade to my resource center website. And, my first article is due out soon. All in all it is shaping up to be a busy term.

Update ... later this evening:

Looking back over this post after publishing it earlier today, I noticed how much the "where is your FWS paperwork?" comment looked like, well, not so lovely language. Especially given the context of the paragraph. I thought it would behoove me to mention FWS really stands for federal work study.

Update ... the next morning:

On my way into to work this morning I had a short conversation with a student who works at the circ desk downstairs. After snottily commenting on how thrilled she looked headed to her 8 am class she fired back with gleeful enthusiasm, "Yes, an 8 am lab three days a week. What better way to start a lovely, crisp morning than by mixing chemicals."

Kudos, dear, kudos.

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