Many academic libraries are creating new positions because there is a need for someone with specific expertise. I see many positions around diversity, equity, inclusion, open education resources or critical pedagogy, and more examples. So I have been reflecting on working in a newly created position where there isn’t a blueprint and when there isn’t someone who can guide you through your job. As we start the new year and you might be beginning a newly created position or continuing this type of position, this blog post will provide some questions to reflect on as you plan for the new year.
Reflective Questions to Consider When You Are the First in Your Position
- Is there another librarian who has this type of position? If so, reach out to them to see if they can talk about their experiences.
- Is there a section or group within a library association that supports this position? For instance, I am a solo health sciences librarian, and there is a caucus within the Medical Library Association that supports solo health sciences librarians.
- Are there resources you can glean from to support you and help you implement programming or instruction techniques and/or relationship building with faculty and students?
- Does your supervisor have a vision for this position? If so, what is it? If not, can you get them to think about this and give some input to help build your vision for the position?
- What is your vision for this position? What do you want to accomplish?
- Do you have the necessary infrastructure in place at your institution to be successful? If not, advocate getting that essential infrastructure in place.
- Are you able to be mentored by someone with this type of position?
In conclusion, being the first in a newly created position can be exciting and terrifying, so hopefully, you can have the time to reflect on your goals for the job and how to implement that vision. Also, hopefully, you have the freedom to be creative. Below are just a couple of resources that speak to some newly created positions and trends in academic librarianship.
- Open Education Librarianship: A Position Description Analysis of the Newly Emerging Role in Academic Libraries
- 2020 top trends in academic libraries: A review of the trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education
Building a career, unlike finding a job, is a lifelong pursuit.
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