Today’s post comes from the ILN Director of Business Operations, Alyson Dalby.
For the first nine months of this year I was thoroughly enjoying running the interlibrary loans service in my library. As a big library, we had a big team – 9 full time staff dedicated solely to interlibrary loans and document delivery, quite a luxury even amongst big university libraries.
It was a big year for my team, with a lot of change and a lot demanded of them as individuals. We brought in new systems to source and deliver material to our clients, which meant that staff had to learn to use new interfaces, new processes, and changed expectations of delivery times. On a personal level, I found a renewed confidence in my abilities to manage projects and implement change, as well as bring staff and colleagues along with that change in a (mostly) positive way.
We also saw some new staff, in a department that had been stable for a very long time. New staff bring new perspectives, ideas, and questions. They change the dynamic of a team, and I’ve enjoyed watching the team welcome newcomers. I was new to the team only last year, and was pleased to see others have the same positive experience I’d had.
Then, in October, I made a big change – I moved to the other side of the world, from Australia to Denmark. I don’t have a library any more, as I’m still job hunting. The process of establishing a new professional network and creating a new professional reputation is highly confronting. Without speaking Danish (yet), I’m limited in the professional events I can attend, or even find out about. I have realised the value of just one contact, one referral, one helpful person that puts me in touch with one more person, who in turn agrees to let me buy them a coffee. My Danish library contacts started with those I met through the ILN, and have already started growing.
As someone who is currently the recipient of the generosity of others, I’d like to ask you: Do you know a librarian that has recently moved to your area? If so, please offer to meet with them, discuss the local industry over coffee, and introduce them to at least one other professional contact. One day you might find yourself in the same situation!