Overwhelmed Librarian Mind
As school librarians we are all in need of a 25th hour in our day. School librarians are the librarians who “do it all.” We are the reference desk, the collection development office, the computer lab assistants, and the circulation managers at our school libraries. Some of us are blessed with wonderful clerks and assistants, some are solo librarians, and some are even juggling multiple schools. No matter what the situation most school librarians are stretched thin. As a blessed but very busy librarian, I often think “if I could just get organized …” So, a recent book caught my attention “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload” by 6 Things the Most Organized People Do Every Day” that I really read this book.
Systems for the Librarian Mind
As librarians we have systems for everything. Why else would the “Dewey or Do We Not” debate become so intense. To stay on top of information overload as the information experts one of the keys is to develop systems for streamlining the everyday processes. If you don’t have time to read Levitin’s entire book, check out the section “Getting Part of Your Mind Outside Your Body” pages 64-79. In just this small section Levitin explains how “Writing things down conserves the mental energy expended in worrying that you might forget something and in trying not to forget it.” He expands upon a whole new way of creating “to-do lists” based upon author David Allen’s “4 categories – Do it, Delegate it, Defer it, or Drop it.” Librarians are not the only ones looking for a system to simplify and streamline. Art Director Matilda Kahl writes “wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, … I don’t think about what I wear.” You might think this decision counter-intuitive for an Art Director but you can read more about Matilda’s decision in this article. There are so many ways to streamline both professional and personal life. Author, Carl Phillips, advises “The paradox of our time is that we have so many choices available to us that many of us struggle to make any choice at all. Counter this by purposefully limiting your options at times.”
Habits of the Librarian Mind
As we find the organizational systems that work for us we need to repeat the systems until they become habit. I have developed habits for email, social media and library workflow. For me, using technology to my advantage is essential. I label and filter my Google email. I use Tweetdeck for multiple Twitter accounts, Latergram.me for scheduling Instagram posts from my desktop, and Sign Up Genius for scheduling appointments. These specific tools may not work for you but there are thousands of apps and programs developed for streamlining your communication. I urge you to find what does work for you and create more time in your day. I also found a couple of ways to save time at home by ordering groceries online, and subscribing to an online clothing exchange. I am not sure how I could do all things that I do without taking advantage of technology tools.
Levitin, Daniel J., The Organized mind: thinking straight in the age of information overload / Dutton; (September 1, 2015)
Author: Hannah Byrd Little
Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.