Time To Read Gala Windup (& Five Non-Library Related Reasons I Love My Job)

Today, I went to the wind-up of Time To Read, a joint project of Southeast Regional Library and the Prairie Valley School Division.  I was part of the initial steering committee for this project which started last summer but had to reduce my role when I went on the road for most of January, February and March. 

The wind-up was a blast – hundreds of kids in a school gym, prizes, a great slideshow (I'm hoping the steering mounts it online eventually) and an appearance by everyone's favourite rodent, Gainer the Gopher (the beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders mascot for those who may not know.) 

That couldn't have worked out better – we were discussing possible celebrity partners early in the project and the idea of approaching Gainer was raised by our coordinator who had a connection with the Riders.  Gainer turned out to be perfect – he has appeal to kids of all ages plus parents and other adults we were trying to reach, he's a province-wide icon who could be used again if this project becomes a template for similar partnerships between other school divisions and regional libraries in the province and little did we know when we got him confirmed but the Riders went on to win the Grey Cup last fall for what, only the third time in their entire history?  Perfect timing!

So what was my point?  Oh yeah, a list that has been percolating as I've spent many miles on the road the past few weeks doing branch visits for weeding, some final computer training, mini-workshops for librarians who couldn't make our semi-annual training session due to bad weather and so on.


1. I get to travel lots
Some people don't like driving or spending time on the road but I've always enjoyed it, ever since my days selling cable TV subscriptions door-to-door around Saskatchewan during undergrad.  (That's a whole different entry I'll do someday!)  Semi-related but not worth a point of its own is the fact that our region has company vehicles so we don't have to use our own vehicles as was always the case everywhere else I've ever worked.

2.  We are a small organization
I report directly to the Library Director.  We only have four professional librarians in the entire organization, maybe a dozen staff working out of headquarters and somewhere around 100 staff regionwide so there's not a lot of extra layers or bureaucracy.  There are monthly Supervisors' meetings where issues are hashed out and decisions are made.  If needed, we can change course very quickly.

3. We have a beautiful HQ building
I haven't seen any other regional headquarters but have heard that ours is one of the nicest in the province.  It only makes sense since my boss grew up in his family construction business in Ontario and oversaw the design and construction of this building.  Great, high ceilings, a massive board room, a design that creates quasi-cubicles for clerical staff but in a way that doesn't make them feel like cubicles, an exercise area with free weights and a treadmill plus cable TV to watch while you work out (or so I've heard – if you've seen recent photos of me on this blog, you know I haven't visited it that often), a parking garage for company vehicles and the coolest photocopier I've ever had the pleasure to operate in my life (it still jams on me on a regular basis though!)

4. We have a great team.
Many managers think that things would be perfect if only they could get staff who thought exactly like they do.  But the reality is that the ideal staff has a wide mix of personality types, perspectives and attitudes.  It's more of a challenge for the senior manager(s) but creates the most effective workforce. 

5. I have an office
It's a small detail but I have colleagues in different libraries who are working in cubicles, sharing workstations with co-workers or who don't really have *any* space to call their own.  So having an office is a pretty big deal for a new librarian apparently.  (I've always had an office in my previous workplaces and though I'd heard of “cubicles”, it was a term I mostly knew from Dilbert so didn't realise how rare this might be.)

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