The Next Chapter

It’s been five weeks since I started my new position as a Regional Campus Librarian for the University of Central Florida. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I certainly intended to update my blog sooner than this, but the first few weeks of a job are intense, especially this one! I wrote a post before I left my last job that outlines what this one is. My position is unique in that I’m employed by the UCF library but work on the campus of Valencia College Osceola campus in Kissimmee. UCF has partnered with several state colleges in the Orlando vicinity to form a network of Regional Campuses that hold UCF classes. I am the first full time UCF Librarian at this campus, and will work to support the UCF students, faculty and staff located here in Osceola.

I also work at the reference desk which primarily serves Valencia students. The ratio of Valencia to UCF students in the Fall will be something like 30 to 1, so I have to know what their priorities are as well because I will be working with Valencia students on a daily basis. In terms of starting my new job, this means learning two separate systems. It’s been a lot of information to absorb but the UCF and Valencia librarians have all been amazing and supportive of my learning curve. I spent my first full week on the main UCF campus in Orlando meeting with various people and departments. My supervisor had lists of people to meet, information to learn, and tasks to complete. I am so thankful that she had these in place. It made the training process less scary and more manageable. I’m still working on checking a few key people off my list of meetings, but I’ve completed almost everything else I needed to.

I haven’t yet worked a full week on the Osceola campus, I keep going to the main Orlando campus or some of our other locations for meetings and trainings. Yesterday I got to visit the College of Medicine with other regional librarians and librarians from the main campus. We got a two hour tour of the school and the library and it was incredible! I feel so blessed to be a part of an institution that is focused on being innovative and forming partnerships within the local community to foster student success.

One of the most interesting things for me in this transition is to see how much of what I was doing at Cleveland transfers to my role here. I observed one of the Valencia librarians’ instruction sessions a few weeks ago and I could have easily taught the class myself. The only real difference is that students have different resources and a different way to access them. I have tried to spend time orienting myself to the resources that are new to me (or ones I haven’t had access to since graduate school).

My big focus at first is going to be outreach to the faculty and students on this campus. Last week I finally felt comfortable enough to introduce myself to a faculty member who teaches Public Administration. Within 5 minutes of talking with him he asked me to come to his class that afternoon to teach a short session on APA format. I was thrilled to be able to get into a class that quickly and took advantage of the opportunity. I had a few hours to prepare so I created a quick presentation based off the Plagiarism & Citations workshops I used to do at Cleveland. I had a great time working with the upper level students, something I didn’t get to experience at Cleveland. They were very engaged and asked at least 10 good questions. After the session I connected with the faculty member on LinkedIn and he actually endorsed me for Public Speaking, so I think I must have done something right! That faculty member has already been in the library and will hopefully be an advocate for the library with other faculty members in the Fall.

Last week I also had the opportunity to attend a day and a half long training on Scholarly Communications on the main campus. I hope to write a recap of the whole session for my next post. I am excited to get involved in some new areas of librarianship that weren’t relevant/feasible in my role as a community college librarian. So far this job has been perfect because I still get to do a little bit of everything, but now I get to work with upper level students and with faculty who are actively working on tenure and publications. Speaking of publications, one of my goals for my first year here is to get an article published. I’m just starting to work on that now.

This week I spent some time working on my ACRL committee duties. I am the co-chair of the ACRL DLS 2014 ALA Conference Program Planning Committee. We have partnered with the same committee in ULS to work on a joint program proposal. We had our first meeting this week using ALA Connect’s chat space. I facilitated the meeting and was extremely pleased with the results. Our groups worked well together and the pieces of the plan seemed to fall into place without much friction. After the meeting I felt that same runner’s high type feeling I get after a good instruction session (which I did experience after my APA session last week). I want to set a goal for myself to become involved in leadership. I enjoy doing it and think I have been successful in that role when I’ve taken it on in my life.

This change has been overwhelming in the usual ways (moving to a new state, new job, etc.) but has also been invigorating. I feel like I have access to a whole new set of opportunities and challenges, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings. I know that this year will bring me to my first ALA conference at the end of the month and I am totally freaked out and excited about that! I can’t wait to see old friends, meet up with people I only know virtually, and make new connections that will last throughout my career.

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