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Summer Prep for a New Liaison Librarian

June 21, 2019

I began my first librarian position during the summer of 2018. I am the first diversity library resident for Susquehanna University. This means that not only am I an early career librarian, but as the first resident of the institution there was no previous track for me to follow. I, along with my supervisor had to develop what it means to be a resident on Susquehanna’s campus. In my role as a resident, I handle instruction, assessment and liaison work for the business school.

Since this was my first library/librarian position, I felt very lost about how to organize my day. This was especially true because this was also my first salaried position, where I had the trust of my supervisor. After many jobs where I had less control over my schedule, going to a position where I had trust left me unsure but, with a desire to prove myself.  

Therefore, I began to work, but I didn’t really have a clear understanding of what prep for a new year looked like.

I worked with my colleagues on assigned projects and found work to keep me going but I felt lost a lot of the time, despite the support of others.

Now going into my second year of work and looking back and planning for the future, I have a few suggestions of how to utilize your first (and any) summer.

1)      Plan out your professional development for the year:

One activity that kept me busy throughout the summer was strategizing what professional development I wanted to participate in the upcoming year. I researched future conferences, signed up for listservs, participated in webinars, and read relevant articles. At the time felt like busy work to me. However, it actually was very formative for my year and I found more useful than I thought.

2)      Try to plan a few events:

You do not know what the year will bring, yet. You are still new on campus and may not have a strong knowledge of the climate on campus. Nevertheless, you know where your interests lie and you should use your time to create something that will suit your interests. Try to implement all those events over the course of the year.  Either way, you will have a list of projects you can refer to any point of your career.

3)      Meet as many faculty and staff colleagues as possible:

This is the perfect time to get a build campus partnerships. You can make a list of departments you want to connect with and work your way through that list over the course of the summer. Faculty can be a little difficult to contact over the summer, but this is also a great time to create a newsletter. It is a nice way to greet faculty who spend their summers away from campus.

4)      Be okay, not knowing:

This is something I often have to remind myself to practice. There will be days where you may not have an exact plan for the day. Or where you spend time at your desk trying to figure out how to spend your day. But that’s OKAY. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself. You only get one first summer, spend it learning as much as you can.

These are some of the recommendations to prep for your own summers. It isn’t an exhaustive list. But if you are looking for a way to better shape your summer; I would highly recommend utilizing any of the suggestions listed here. The most important one being allow yourself moments to breathe and be okay with the unknown.

Happy Summer!

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