Thursday, November 9, 2017

Interview Post: Lindsay Cronk


Lindsay Cronk

Current job?
Head of Collection Strategies, University of Rochester River Campus Libraries

How long have you been in the field?
7 Years, but only 6 months in my current job.

How Do You Work?

What is your office/workspace like?

I have a window, which feels like the crowning accomplishment of all my library striving and hustling. Each morning, I gaze out my magnificent window and I feel a sense of accomplishment. I have a kind of more than a cubicle/less than an office space with a door. There’s a white board covered in project notes, also tons of friendly tchotchkes because I’m an aggressive office nester. The office space is open and collaborative, which I love. I’m not at my desk very often because we’re always meeting and I’m always in someone’s grill or investigating the stacks.

How do you organize your days?
I pride myself on my flexibility, and I take a lot of meetings, so the structure of my day is often defined by others. However, two critical organizational pieces for me are:

  1. Each morning I review to-do list items, prepare for meetings, and try to clear my inbox. I also try to use this time to reflect and consider how I can instill social justice in the tasks and meetings ahead.
  2. Each afternoon I write a to-do list for the next day. Mindful reflection FTW!
I try essentially to calendar off an hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon to make this possible.

What do you spend most of your time doing?
My friend and mentor, Miranda Bennett, warned me that being a department head means “doing email, going to meetings, and worrying about what you’re missing.” I find this to be largely true. I spend a lot of time in project management, and there are always a lot of projects in collection development and management. I check in and support projects from my team and from subject experts. I have found the hardest part of my transition to this role has been the piece of delegating and stepping aside for practitioners. I still create projects, develop ideas, but I am learning to nourish and support the creativity of others.

What is a typical day like for you?
I take the shuttle to work, and I am lucky that other library colleagues do as well. This gives us an informal check in every day where we talk about our work. I get to the office about 8:30, take coffee with some colleagues who are in academic engagement, shop talk about our overlapping projects. The meat of any day can be extremely different, but I’d misrepresenting my experience in academic libraries if I didn’t mention there are always a ton of meetings! On a productive day I’ll check in on a variety of projects with multiple departments, maybe frolic through the Stacks to see where researchers are. At the end of the day, I settle down to look at my calendar for the next day and set my to-do list.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Maplecroft by Cherie Priest, and it’s perfect Halloween/Fall reading. Priest reframes Lizzie Borden as an axe-wielding Cthulu-monster slayer, and I am living for it.

What's the best professional advice you've ever received?
My former boss, Mary Elin Santiago, now Senior VP at Gale told me, “If you can learn to thrive in chaos, you will succeed under any circumstances.”

What have you found yourself doing at work that you never expected?
I definitely never thought I’d spend this much time looking into physical collections - I thought I was an eresources/licensing person exclusively. It’s been a real joy to work in the print collection, but an unexpected joy.

Inside the Library Studio

What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?
Late night horror film host or Foley artist

What profession would you never want to attempt?

Everything Else

What superpower do you wish you had?
I would love to be able to talk to animals.

What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the relationships I have built and continue to build. I am proud of my community. From a project standpoint, I am probably most proud of my contributions to the profession regarding data visualization for collection data.

If you're willing to share, tell about a mistake you made on the job.
I once communicated what was an accurate, negative description of a current budget situation in a sort of Chicken Little, “the sky is falling” way. I was trying to give a sense of urgency, which I thought was lacking in the organization. When we received additional funding from administration, I had to walk back my communication. It damaged the trust I’d had with some of the people involved. If I had it to do again, I’d definitely communicate it differently! It was the result of my own inexperience.

When you aren't at work, what are you likely doing?
My dude and I spend a lot of our free time in the gorgeous local parks here in Rochester, New York. There’s so much natural beauty! We also love to go see movies at the Little Theater and pick up records at Record Archive.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Amie Wright (@librarylandia), Ariana Santiago (@aripants), and Mea Warren (@meawarren)!

Lindsay tweets at @linds_bot.

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