Transition, Transformation, Tradition

This is my last post to Beyond the Bookshelves as Director of the Library and Media Center at SMCM.  At the end of the month I begin a journey north to New Hampshire where I will start work as Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College.  After 22 years here in Maryland I have been asked many times why I am making the change.

This morning my view of the St. Mary’s River is obscured by the lush green of the trees outside my window.  I won’t be here in the fall when the leaves fall and the vista changes.  Or to see the next step in slowly reducing our shelving so we can create more flexible spaces for our students.  Or to look up from my desk to see a student coming through to ask for help with a project, to ask if we can let her display artwork, or want to know why it’s so cold/hot/noisy in the library.

So I am packing up, doing my own version of deaccessioning, and feeling the same mixture of excitement and terror as the other graduates of the class of 2014.  Why move to a new position now at this stage in my career with retirement still double digits away, but within sight?  Why leave an amazing library, even more amazing colleagues, and this beautiful place?

Well, I’ll admit that there are some parts of my job I wouldn’t mind doing a bit less of.  I still have a heavy teaching load and don’t think I am devoting enough time to being a really good teacher.  I don’t want to give it up altogether, but doing less might help me teach better and give me time for other things like that research project which I have been trying to work on for the last couple of years.  And I’ll admit I am a bit relieved that I won’t have to upgrade all of my LibGuides to the new version.

New leadership in the St. Mary’s Library will build on the strong foundation we have, on the traditions and culture of the campus and the library.  And a new leader will participate in advocating for the continued transformation of the library.  And I am guessing that she/he will help move the library forward in ways that I might not even think of.

I will have the opportunity to learn the traditions of a new library and campus, and to participate in building on them and envisioning transformation for the future.  New challenges will push me to change, to think in new ways about what we do and why it is so important.

Even as I write this and look around at the boxes in my office I realize how much I will miss this place where I really became a librarian.  I hope I will make the SMCM library faculty and staff proud.  I will be watching to see what happens next.  I’ll be reading the blog.  And I will be getting to know and love a new place which will help me become an even better librarian.



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