Back yourself (or, Five things I accomplished in 2017)

In the absence of any collaborative material to write about for GLAM Blog Club (sorry), my thoughts turned to a year in review post. My 2017 was, like many people’s (and the planet’s), a year of extremes. Lots of really good things happened to me. Lots of really awful things happened to me. I can only hope I learned from the bad and made the most of the good. I learned a lot this year, but most of those lessons essentially boiled down to one thing: Back yourself.

This doesn’t mean ‘I’m always right’ or ‘I am untouchable’. I spent a lot of this year questioning my judgment, which admittedly in parts was fairly terrible. It’s more along the lines of ‘Think things through, come to a position on something and own it, and if you change your mind, own that too’. It also means ‘Know your own worth—don’t listen to those who don’t value you’.

I’m finishing the year in a very different position from when I started it. It’s slightly mind-boggling just how much I accomplished in 2017. Below is a brief overview:

  • New job! I quit my (permanent) job as a local history librarian and took up a new (temporary) gig as a tech services officer in a law library. Wait, what?! Most new grads would give their right arms for a permanent gig, and here I am giving mine away!? It sounds crazy on paper, especially because I know very little about law, but I’m confident it was the right decision for me. Time will tell whether I can parlay that into other opportunities.
  • So much networking! For an introvert with no social skills and an intermittent anxiety disorder, I sure went to a lot of stuff this year. I attended NLS8, VALA Tech Camp, the NSLA digipres forum, local ALIA SNGG events, a newCardigan meetup and much more. I met loads of people (many of whom, disconcertingly enough, already knew who I was!). I tweeted my little heart out. I have over 700 followers! How the heck did that happen?
  • Lots of writing! I wrote 18 blog posts in 2017, including eight for GLAM Blog Club, an excellent initiative from newCardigan. My two favourite blog posts this year were ‘Cò mise? = Who am I?’ and ‘How to catalogue a beer can’. I also wrote two pieces for professional journals, both of which are slated for publication in the new year. (Don’t worry, I’ll be telling everybody when they’re out!)
  • Almost a degree! I finally finished all the coursework for my MIS, but couldn’t quite make the professional placement happen. If anyone wants me in their library or GLAM institution for free for three weeks, or alternatively knows someone in Scotland who wants some free labour from a neach-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig, hit me up 🙂
  • Speaking up! In September, I wrote an open letter to the ALIA Board of Directors regarding their public position on marriage equality, after sustained lobbying from NGAC and others. I’m not much of a public letter-writer and I usually keep my political opinions off the internet, but this time I decided to speak up for a cause that mattered to me. It was my first real experience of advocacy within LIS. I’d like to think it made a bit of a difference.

If nothing else, 2017 has been a year of intense personal growth. Professionally and personally, I’m determined to start 2018 in a better place.

I’m determined to back myself.

Bookbinding that I gone and done

Stack of three hand-bound books

In addition to full-time work, full-time study and a busy social calendar, I’ve spent the last several Thursday evenings doing a bookbinding class at our local TAFE. Last Thursday was the final class, meaning I could finally finish my projects and take them home (and to work, to show off a little bit). I was inspired to take the class by the falling-apart books I handle every day at work; I badly wanted to know how to fix them but realised that bookbinding and book repair is ideally taught in person, not on the internet. (I also felt I could do with some kind of practical hobby.) I enrolled in the class off my own bat and was pleasantly surprised to find I was not the youngest person there!

I found the class fascinating, but very difficult. I am not naturally a ‘crafty’ person and found the teacher’s style of instruction at odds with my ideal methods of learning (i.e. she preferred to explain verbally whereas I learn much better from a book). I was a very slow learner and struggled to keep up, but managed to finish all three of the books we had set out to bind at the start of the term. Our teacher had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of patience (but I know I used up a fair bit!). I’m undecided as to whether I’ll re-enrol—it depends on a few other things that are up in the air at the moment. I’d like to think I would be a bit better as a returning student.

Later this week I’ll post more about the kinds of binding we did and the techniques we used—at this point I’m happy just to have finished!