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Archive for June, 2011

One year on

On June 15 of last year, I left the University of Arizona Libraries for the last time, as I left there for the new job at Georgia State. Nearly a year after that, I’ve had time to reflect on why I left – they recently posted an open position on the Instruction Services Team, and that’s had me thinking about the library.

My friends know that I struggled with the culture of the UA Libraries – for me, it wasn’t a good fit, and at times I admit that I’ve wanted to write that all off as their fault. Then again, I did have a full day interview back in 2007, and I had the opportunity to evaluate whether it was the right place for me.  I didn’t, at the time, know what questions to ask to help me get at whether the culture was right. And admittedly, even had I asked those questions, I might still have been blinded by the salary difference between there and my previous workplace. And so I didn’t ask the questions I needed to ask and ended up in a place that wasn’t right for me.

But distance brings perspective. And in that perspective I can now see just how much I gained being there during those three years. Yes, I learned a lot about the kind of library environment that doesn’t work for me, but I also learned a lot about working with a very wide range of people, with hugely variations in communication styles, work styles, all of that. I learned a lot about looking at the bigger picture of the organization: it can’t be just about MY job – it’s about how we work together and juggling priorities and resources.  The library, after all, is a growing organism and an academic library at a public research institutions is also tied closely in with other “ecosystems” – the university, to be sure, but also the political and cultural environment of the state.  The University of Arizona Libraries did teach me to think at a broader level about my role – whether I wanted to learn that or not – and that continues to help me.

I’m not sorry I left. I needed to leave. My first year here at Georgia State has been what I needed it to be, and the second year is shaping up to take me in new directions that are also what I need.  But I don’t regret my time at UofA – or at Youngstown State either. Both of those gave me perspectives and experiences that I still draw on now.

 

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