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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Physical Development and Issues

As I mentioned in my first post, the Music Library is the size of a small classroom, roughly 21.5 x 15.5 x 12, and is shaped like a baseball diamond . Here is an image of the room dimensions, along with the original plan for shelf layout:

original library diagram

Click for larger picture

As you can see, space is pretty tight. The original plan also did not leave room for a circulation/ work desk, which we have now. The room was zoned for 8o lbs per square foot of weight, which equals approximately 40,880 pounds or 20 tons. At this time, we only have 10 bookshelves along the perimeter of the room, which is far less than the weight limit- on the diagram they are the walls marked 21.6 and 15.6. The room has gone through many transformations. I have already moved things around from my first post picture.  I removed 2 computer stations, so we have four computer stations in the center of the room and one table that seats up to 4-5 people, for group study. I also moved our circulation/ work desk towards the wall farthest away from the door, which will open up space for one more tall bookshelf on the wall marked 12′ 7 7/16. There is a media file cabinet for DVDs and CDs behind the desk.

Right now we are weeding items that were stored in the room that are not cataloged, so do not be alarmed at the sparseness in the pictures! Here are the most current pictures of the room (please excuse the mess):

Hallway to ECSU Music Library

Hallway to ECSU Music Library

Circulation / work desk and glimpse of media cabinet

Circulation / work desk and glimpse of media cabinet

4 shelves and group study table

Shelves and group study table

6 shelves on wall and view of computer stations

View from behind the circ desk and of computer stations

In order to make more space in the future, we may attempt to lay out a row of back-to-back half shelves in the chevron shape (as shown in the diagram above), plus another chevron row of half shelves with the computers against the backside of the shelf. This would edge us closer to our weight limit, but provide space for almost 500 more books. We also have plans to add short shelves under the windows once we no longer need both book carts currently taking up the space.

The next few posts will address our “business” model, marketing plans, and collection considerations.

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Creating a New Music Library

Welcome to the blog for the new Music Library at Elizabeth City State University! This blog will be an ongoing chronicle of our journey to create a new Music Library space for ECSU. The Music Library is a satellite of the main library on campus, the G.R. Little Library. It is housed in the Music Department in the Fine Arts Building. The main objectives of the ECSU Music Library are to provide more specialized reference help and materials to the Music Department and to satisfy NASM accreditation.

When we started, the room was basically a storage room for scores and donated items. An interim Music Librarian was able to sort through the items, weed out items damaged beyond repair and organize the remaining items on the shelves so that they may be browsed by students and faculty. There will be more posts from the interim Librarian on this soon.


You will see from the picture that at this point the room has 6 computer cubicles and a circulation desk. We also have 10 tall shelves, with space overhead for oversized items, a media cabinet behind the circ desk, and 2 rolling carts.

None of the materials in the Music Library are catalogued. The next step is to move catalogued items from the G.R. Little Library here to get the Music Library up and running as fast as possible. Plans are also under way to slightly change the configuration of the room to provide more group study space. I will be going into physical development in the next post.

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