How did you wind up working in and with libraries?
I have a somewhat unromantic tale about my decision to work in libraries! I was a freshman in college, one month in, and I was already alarmed that I didn’t know exactly what career I would pursue. I wanted to get an English degree but I wasn’t sure what I would do with that. So I googled “careers for English majors” and lo and behold, librarians and archivists were listed as viable options. Suddenly I recognized that the academic library I studied in had all sorts of people powering it! After graduating, I headed to graduate school at Indiana University and haven’t looked back.
How do you stay motivated when working on a project?
Deadlines motivate me. Left to my own devices, I’m the gal working on a presentation on the plane headed to a conference. I thrive under pressure. That’s okay sometimes, but I’ve found that I need to be very intentional as I structure my time – now I’m trying to get into the habit of blocking off project time on my calendar.
When I start to drag, I also think about the big picture. How does what I’m doing impact where I want to be in a year? In 6 months? 1 month? I scale back and it helps me reclarify what I’m doing and why.
I also find a lot of energy from the broader library community. For plenty of reasons that I’m guessing everyone is keenly aware of, sometimes projects can be emotionally draining. Twitter is a big energy booster for me – it creates the social ties that make projects, knowledge sharing, and brighter days possible. I was a nonbeliever for a while but I don’t know what I would do without it now!
When all other motivational tactics fail, I remind myself that everyone has the same 24 hours in their day… including Beyoncé. That gets me to work.
What do you view as the primary objective of your work?
Big picture, the primary objective of my current role as Digital Curation Coordinator is to ensure that my university is effectively shepherding our researchers’ valuable scholarly outputs. It’s a hefty undertaking! One major aspect of this work is reducing barriers to sharing and preservation. I think very deeply about how infrastructure, policy, outreach, and education all interact to help or hinder these efforts. It’s a gigantic, thrilling, complex puzzle and I find that it takes a lot more creativity than I ever thought it would!
Why are you excited to speak at the LYRASIS eGathering?
Having the chance to chat about web engagement with the wide variety of LYRASIS member institutions is a bit of a pinch me moment. I am passionate about creating community through websites, blogs, and social media. Even though these topics can sometimes be dismissed as passé or overdone, I know from the experience of working with blogs and websites of varying sizes over the past few years that creating and sustaining something impactful is harder than it seems. While I certainly hope attendees will find my thoughts useful, more importantly I hope they’ll be eager to share their own ideas and experiences back with the community. We all have something to contribute.
I am also delighted to be in such good company! I admittedly did a stunned eyebrow raise when I saw myself listed alongside my fellow speakers.
What is your best piece of advice for approaching online engagement?
This piece of advice actually applies well beyond online engagement: You will never, ever have the ideal setup or the perfect plan so just go for it. Get excited! Do a little research but don’t dare overthink it. Especially if you’re first starting (or restarting a project that lost momentum) you really have to take on the attitude of an intrepid explorer. Ask your team how it’s going. Change things up accordingly! And find ways to bring the passion back, because without a little personality the content won’t stick.
In my talk, one of the main things that I’ll be discussing is finding balance between harnessing inspiration and setting up practical workflows for doing the regular tasks that need to happen with websites, blogs, and social media. There’s a sweet spot and I want to help attendees find it.