Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolve to Rock in 2015: My Professional Resolutions

I've shared professional resolutions here on my blog before. 2013 was the year of really ramping up STEAM programs and services. 2014 was all about storytime skills (new uke songs, flannel boards, and taking advantage of resources) until I changed jobs and didn't have regular storytimes anymore. This year, I'm sharing my professional resolutions as part of the larger Resolve to Rock in 2015 initiative from Storytime Underground. I hope you'll consider sharing your professional resolutions for 2015, too!

My 2015 goals:

1) Strive for balance. One of my responsibilities in my new job as Youth & Family Program Coordinator is to make sure that our program offerings for youth and their families are balanced. That means I'm looking at a range of factors every programming season to determine if our schedule is hitting the right notes: number of programs for age group, program type, grouping of programs around certain dates/weeks, etc. It's definitely a process to learn to be able to do this with any degree of finesse, but I'm making strides. I think I can also learn from this balancing exercise in other areas of my professional life, too. I need to balance projects so that I both get everything done but can put in enough time for the really great and impactful endeavors. I need to balance my professional reading so that I get a good grasp of the literature that's available now, but also so that I don't get burned out. Balance is important in so many aspects.

2) Ask more questions. Back in my old job, with a small branch staff but a huge and dedicated customer base, most of my job felt like maintenance mode--the wheels were in motion, and I needed to keep them in motion to ensure that the machine didn't come to a full stop. That meant always working on lots of things at once, doing them well but not necessarily having the time to step back, evaluate, and consider making changes. I can do that now in a standalone library with a great staff of people serving youth, and I need to take advantage of that fact. So I resolve to ask more questions, with the goal of programs and services having more intentionality behind them. Are we interested in trying a new program? What's the demonstrated need? What would be the optimal audience? How does it fit into, supplement, or replace something we already do? I can also think of lots of scenarios in my collection development responsibilities, too, where I can ask more questions for more meaningful practice and outcomes.

3) Get to a point where I'm weeding my collections for maintenance, not as a triage, panic-we're-out-of-room situation. This is a massive undertaking that I began almost as soon as I was hired, but I am confident it'll take me well into 2015 to get to a good spot in terms of collection maintenance. It's a lot of work, a lot of sneezing, and a lot of assistance from fellow staff and volunteers, but it's going to make these collections so much more wonderful to use.

4) Be more choosy, and give priority to the projects I really want to work on. This is a resolution for the personal side of my professional life--the projects outside of my day job. I'm historically not great at saying "no," and when it comes to my professional opportunities these past two years, I never wanted to say "no" out of fear of never being approached again. And while I wouldn't change any of the decisions I've made to this point, I do need to work on saying "no" so that I can focus on the things I'm really passionate about in librarianship. There's nothing worse than feeling like I have to do something I don't really want to because I made a commitment I didn't actually need to make. So I'm going to be deliberate about considering my personal professional priorities this year and perhaps say "no" more often to make way for more resplendent "yes" projects.

These are my resolutions for this coming year. With the exception of my weeding resolution, they're definitely more abstract that years previous. But I think, as Lisa Shaia's blog post of sample resolutions indicates, as your time and position in this career grow and change, your goals for development grow and change, too. We'll see how it goes in 2015.


  1. These are great goals, Amy. I, too, will strive to keep on top of my weeding (we made a 5-year weeding plan, but this year I've gotten behind... I will catch up!). And I think #4 is really important. Being on Newbery this year, I did say no to some things and I found that if they want you, they want you and they'll come back around. (Now, the trick is going to be saying no when I don't have Newbery as an excuse.......)

  2. Those sound like great resolutions. I wish you the best with them and in all your endeavors for 2015.

  3. Thanks, Abby and Melissa! I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings.

  4. Oh boy, I have to add weeding to my list! I should add that in as a monthly goal and maybe I'd actually do it more often instead of when the pages can't put away the books. Haha!