Category Archives: Organization

Music Library Soft Opening

It has been quite a month for me since my last post! I ended up spending most of March dealing with a death in the family, which took me away from work for 3 weeks out of the month and put me behind 2 weeks. Here is what the library looked like before I left:

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Basically, I had 1 shelf of cataloged scores, 1 shelf of uncatalogued scores, and a large pile of discards. Once I got back, I was able to rally and modify the location of enough books from the main library to do a “soft opening” on April 22nd. I call it a soft opening because I do not have a complete catalog of items yet, but students can use the Library room and check out items that are available. The shelf of uncatalogued items can be browsed and cataloged on request. There will be a “Grand Opening” in the fall when the Music Library is complete. This will include a small public celebration, which the local arts community will be invited to attend.

In case anyone is wondering about the process of moving the items, here is the general flow:

I spent any work hours at the main G. R. Little Library doing group item modifications and marking the items’ current location to “In Process” in SirsiDynix Symphony Workflows. Marking the items In Process allowed the items to be searched, but let other librarians know they weren’t on the shelf, in case a student needed the item. I would also take this time to double-check if scores were marked correctly in the item categories, for easier catalog searches, and if there were any other issues, such as repair needs, call number errors, etc. The following day I would go back to G.R. Little with a student worker and box up the items (hopefully keeping them in order!) and load 4-8 boxes into my poor Chevy Aveo to transport to the Music Library. Once in the Music Library, I would again scan the books and change the current location to the Music Library. If I hadn’t already stamped the books with the Music Library stamps this would happen now, and I would make sure they were in correct order before they went on the shelf.

It seems like a lot of back and forth, but I needed to make the move gradually due to my limited space. As mentioned in my first two posts, I only have 10 tall shelves and decided to start with the M and ML classification items. Now that I have 3/4 of those items in the Music Library, I can see that I may be able to bring over some voice and instrument methods and theory books, which had been requested by faculty. The music education books will have to stay in the main library, which makes sense as they are being utilized by two departments (music and education).

As of opening week, I am pleased to say that the ECSU Music Library now looks like this:

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You’ll see in the last picture that I have some boxes of free sheet music on a table for students to take as an opening week gift. Most of the items are older duplicates or in less than great shape, but can still be useful. It has been very successful in getting people in to visit and see how different the Music Library is from the last time they had access. The faculty have also been stopping by and we even had them helping the students go through the music to pick out the best pieces for them. A very positive start!

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Time Management

prague-astronomical-clock-detail-871291743639AGqIt is a little ironic that I haven’t posted in so long, yet chose time management as my subject. I am roughly two weeks away from opening the music library to students and I am finding myself getting overwhelmed in details. I thought it would be beneficial to document some of the things that I wish I would have been doing from the get-go that I have started to make a part of my work day now:

1. Write down each new idea with my reasoning behind it

I am an ideas person, often coming up with more than one for each problem I run into.  I find that if I don’t write down exactly what my idea is right away, along with my reasoning, it can get diluted as I proceed. If I need to present the idea to a department head or colleague for input, I can stay consistent and on task. I can also use what I wrote to justify decisions, especially when it comes to Title III funding.

2. Get a notebook or binder that has pre-made sections in it for notes

After working here for 3 months, I have a lot of notes. I think I was under some odd assumption that overall libraries work the same and that I would be jotting down a few things here and there that were specific to my new job. Yes- I look back at this now and laugh and laugh… I have had to waste some precious time reorganizing my notes so I could find them when needed. If they were sectioned off, it would have been easier for me to find them. Another option would be to get a binder with multiple pockets and take notes on a separate pad, filing them as you go.

3. Create an electronic flow chart

Remember those details that are throwing me off schedule? If I would have documented my initial plan in an electronic flowchart, which allows for easy updating, it would have been easier for me to prioritize. I am used to juggling multiple tasks, but there are so many things that involve other people that I often have to put something aside until I hear back from them. It is humbling to remember that what is important to me at any given time is not usually a priority to someone else. I tried a to-do list, but found it to be too clunky as it doesn’t show how things fit together in the big picture. Having a visual flow chart would make it easier to shift into something else and keep track of the little things when theyedy finally get done (or to follow-up). Yes, a flow chart takes time, but it also keeps you from looking like a flake because you have a million things to keep track of in your head and can’t pay attention to the moment you are in. Or is that just me?

I found this great free graph program called yEd. You can download it or use it online (with Java). It is fairly user-friendly and intuitive.

4. Always allow extra time for each task

As I mentioned in #3, many of the tasks you are working on will involve someone else. Sometimes you aren’t aware that you need to consult with a colleague or department until after you have started, or perhaps your student workers can’t come in to work at the last second. You have to leave enough time to collaborate and respond otherwise small jobs become priorities and take you away from the overall goal.  I try to tack on at least a day or two to each task, just in case.

Over the next 2 weeks, I will be finishing up a major weeding project, move uncatalogued MT books to the main library for processing, and move cataloged M and ML books from the main library to the music library (after changing their location in the catalog). The move is a big project, but it will also allow us to do an inventory and check for physical damage. Now where’s that flow chart?!?

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