Currently my title is “Technology & Instructional
Design Librarian” but that doesn’t really tell you what I do. I take care of
all instructional design, instructional technology, and student/faculty
technology training. I’m the administrator for our learning management system
and our video hosting platform. In addition to those things, I do instructional
coaching, help program directors make sure their online programs are of high
quality, do reference work for students as well as helping to plan the library
budget alongside our collections management librarian. I also did most of the
work to establish our new library website. Now that it’s built, we all
co-manage it (which means when someone remembers something needs to be done we
take care of it).
How long have you been in the field?
I was a school librarian for 2 years right after
my undergraduate work. I completed my Master of Library Science as I was
working as a school librarian. I then took jobs outside of librarianship for 3
years, and now have been in my current position for 3 years. So I guess you
could say on and off for the past 8 years.
Do You Work?
What is your office/workspace like?
I’m told my office was a complete afterthought
when they built this part of our library. They were near completion when the
library director at the time told the construction team we needed another
office. So they essentially put up 2 walls and a semi-circle of glass windows,
fixed a countertop to one of the walls, and called it an office. I refer to it
as my “fishbowl.” The countertop isn’t really the right height a desk should be
and the edges are not smooth so it’s kind of uncomfortable to work at. Because
of that, I asked my boss if I could get one of those sit/stand things you put
on your desk and I like it a lot better. I try my best to be paperless in my
work but there are still a bunch of papers all over the place. There’s also A/V
equipment sitting out because I often forget to put things away.
How do you organize your days?
I’m ruled by my calendar. I have a Google
calendar widget on the home screen of my phone. It’s typically the first thing
I look at when I wake up. I like to know the quantity and type of meetings I’ll
have before I even get in the shower. A lot of my time is spent in meetings,
consultations, or trainings, so it’s important to know what I have going on and
what I can possibly fit in between those meetings, etc. Many people I’ve talked
to about work-efficiency type of stuff tell me that it’s bad to be ruled by
your calendar because you’ll take too many meetings, but I actually book time
on my calendar to work on “real” work. For example, today I had 2 hours blocked
off on my calendar to work on some video tutorials I owed to some students. If
someone wants to schedule a meeting with me, it looks to them that I’m already
in a meeting for those 2 hours so I actually get the time to do my work.
Other than that I don’t know that my days are
really organized. Every day is different for me based on who needs to work with
me. Faculty and students all have their class schedules pretty set so it means
I have to be the flexible one.
What do you spend most of your time doing?
Listening to music. I’m serious with that too. I
keep Pandora going pretty much all day every day except for when I have a
meeting. I have pretty sweet stations centered around Eminem, Macklemore, Jay
Z, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, a station that mixes Jesus Christ Superstar with
Les Miserables, a good Simon & Garfunkel station, and sometimes I even mix
in the Disney station I have for my kids.
As far as what I spend my time doing with the
music on, it certainly feels like I spend most of my time answering tech
questions and making video tutorials because words don’t always do the trick.
However when I look at my calendar there’s no way my feeling there is accurate.
Most of my time is spent working with faculty to help them teach better (face
to face or online).
What is a typical day like for you?
I’m going to split this into 2 sections. You’ll
see why when you get to the 2nd part.
Part 1: The Workday
After waking up, I check my calendar for the
day, get a shower, get dressed, and make empty threats to ground my children or
take away their toys if they don’t get ready for school. At work I make it a
point to greet my coworkers right when I get in. Some of my coworkers come in
after me and I make sure to say hi to them later on. When I get to my office I
check my email. I try my best to answer everything that can be answered in a
few words or sentences first. I figure it’s better to get the easy ones out of
the way. Then I work on the rest whenever I have time. I’ve found that,
especially here, if you answer emails quickly people are super-appreciative
because there are other people that take forever to get back to people. Solving
problems efficiently makes you look like Superman if everyone else will wait a
few days. Besides the email thing, like I said before it’s all about my
calendar and no 2 days are the same.
Part 2: Post-workday
I get in the car with my wife (we work together
and often drive together) and unless she brings something up, I don’t even
think about work. It’s as if there’s an ocean between my house and the college.
I used to be a work-a-holic. I used to answer work emails whenever they came
in. Then I realized that I’m not an Emergency Room Surgeon and nobody’s going
to die or be harmed in any way if I let those emails wait until the next
morning. My boss and many other people on campus have my cell phone number and
personal email. If it’s super-important, someone will find a way to contact me.
What are you reading right now?
I’ve been working through the “Jack Ryan” series
via audiobook for what I’m thinking is the last 2 years I listen when in the
car by myself and when I run. I typically run between 20-45 minutes and, with 3
girls and a wife, I’m hardly ever driving by myself - so it’s slow going. I’m
currently on Command Authority.
What's the best professional advice you've
Can I do 2?
First...It is perfectly fine to say “I don’t
know right now; give me a few days to think about it.” I know seems to go
against what I said earlier with solving problems efficiently, but the right
answer after a few days is more efficient than a wrong answer right away.
Second, and more importantly… Family comes
first. Never lose sight of your family to get ahead at work.
What have you found yourself doing at work
that you never expected?
I never expected people from other departments
(including faculty) would ask me for advice with stuff that has little or
nothing to do with my job description or duties. I totally welcome it, as I
will help in any way I can, but I definitely didn’t expect it. I usually end up
running things by them that I’m wondering about, too. It’s pretty good
brainstorming and we’ve all benefited from it.
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?
Some sort of Front Office Executive for the New
What profession would you never want to attempt?
Jobs that involve being covered in poop or other
undesirable substance. Pretty much anything on that Dirty Jobs show.
What superpower do you wish you had?
Time travel--I’d go forward to get lottery
numbers and then come back to win a gazillion dollars. I’d only even have to
use the power once. I wouldn’t want to mess with something crazy in the past
and end up with dinosaurs still roaming the Earth.
What are you most proud of in your career?I’m most proud of my diversity of talents. This particular
job has me doing a bunch of different things on top of the other things I’ve
been good at in prior jobs. Each of the 3 prior jobs I’ve had have been very
different from one another. School librarian, classroom teacher/football coach,
project manager at a manufacturing firm, and now the litany of things I do as a
librarian. I think it’s cool that I’ve been able to have so many experiences.
If you're willing to share, tell about a mistake
you made on the job.
This was back when I was a project manager at a
manufacturing firm. I took a meeting with a client’s architect and some others
at a time when my engineering and design team was unavailable. I thought I
could handle it myself and I was wrong. I ended up wasting everyone’s time in
the meeting. It’s kind of like I said before with saying “I don’t know”. It’s
better to delay the meeting than it is to have a meeting with the wrong people.
When you aren't at work, what are you likely
There’s really only 3 possibilities. I’m either
doing something with my kids, bringing my kids to their activities like dance
and soccer, or playing Playstation. After the kids go to bed you can find me
working on my MBA coursework. I have 2 more semesters.
Who else would you like to see answer these
Scott DiMarco, Mansfield University of
Pennsylvania. He’s one of the best men I know and I think we could all learn a
lot from him.