The first week at this new job has certainly been something. After a typical HR orientation (“We know that this isn’t terribly interesting, but someone has to tell you about MSDSs sometime, so grab some coffee and settle in.”), my first three days actually in the library were filled with meetings and initial training.

Oh, and the requisite technical difficulties. For a while there, I didn’t have a calendar associated with my Exchange account, or I did but couldn’t get to it through Outlook, or maybe it was server gnomes. Probably gnomes.

In any case, I’m surprised at how autonomous my schedule has become so quickly. The first couple of days were booked solid with the get-to-know-you sort of meeting, but after that, I’m getting to prioritize the list of to-dos and goals given to me. I’m getting to schedule these things on my own.

And I guess that isn’t earthshattering—I am a professional, after all, and I’m not sure what else I was expecting. I suppose I’m a librarian. I’m just not sure what to make of that.

Friday brought my first big project. I’ve been asked to work with a team of mathematicians on framing a metadata structure for a sizable set of homework problems used in a nationally-deployed online homework system. Woo! Metadata! I wasn’t expecting to be moving on such a big project so soon. I mean, I haven’t even been a librarian proper for a week. When I think about it rationally, I’ve definitely got all the tools and skills I need to work on this. It just feels odd to break ground on a long-term consultation when I’ve only just broken ground on my career.

Speaking of career, one of the reasons I started this blog was to have an outlet for the things I’d’ve wanted to be told as a new librarian. For example, the job search process: how does it work and how can you make it work to your advantage? I was lucky enough to receive a great deal of mentoring about that, but not all library students are that lucky. I think the student/graduate community is making great strides in harnessing the web for peer mentoring/advice, as with I Need a Library Job and Hiring Librarians. As part of that community, I want to return the favor with some stories of my own. Expect to see a bunch of posts over the next few weeks about what that process looked like for me, and what other soon-to-be librarians might learn from my foibles and successes.

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