Not fame, but 15 minutes of exploration...

I've been thinking a lot about time. And when I think about time, I hear Mick Jagger singing in my head, "tiiiiiime is on our side..."
But how does Mick's promise work in libraries? Finding time to complete daily tasks, help patrons, react to the myriad of unscheduled issues tossed your way, and then, keep up with technology? Really? Are you sure time is on your side?
Lately, a few people have shared their views on this topic, and all are connected by their desire to learn, and their creative solutions. Read on...
While traveling on the bookmobile, I met up with Charlene Stearns from the Blue Lake branch of the Humboldt County Library. Her library is open a precious 10 hours a week, and she struggles to find time to learn more about the one computer she is tasked with supporting. To help solve this issue, she recently began getting paid an additional 15 minutes on each end of her shift so she could catch up with tasks and devote time to the computers. She shared that she has reservations about this remedy, because other things invariably eat up the time she needs for the computer, but she’s trying. Hard.
Ross Callendar, from the Colorado Library Consortium, travels around libraries in his region, leading workshops on topics such as databases and computer maintenance. When he’s on the road, he encourages all libraries to "take 15 minutes a day on WebJunction and TechSoup to play” to learn something new, to find out what others are talking about and using in their libraries.
(I love the emphasis on "play." What a nice, stress-free way in which to frame this time. Be sure to check out the CLiC blog for more smart ideas!)
Recently on BlogJunction, Rachel talked about how Helene Blowers (a member of MaintainIT’s steering committee) "spends the last 15 minutes of her workday checking out new things she’s come across on the web." And in Minnesota, intrepid librarians take 15 minutes a day to catch up on library blogs, a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of libraries.
Finally, while chatting with Priscilla Backstrom from Maddock Community Library in North Dakota, she shared,

"Just looking through the Cookbook I find so much that, 'oh, that would be a wonderful site,' but they all take time. And so you almost have to budget. I have a half an hour here that I’m going to sit down, or an hour here once a week, or so much a month, where I sit down and actually take time exploring some of those areas, and looking into some things."

From these few examples, it sounds like carving a bit of time out of busy schedules--and sticking to it--may be the best way to keep time on your side. Thanks, Mick.


I so agree that there is never enough time to really learn all that I need to know about maintaining our computers in the library. Just today, a computer seemed to freeze up and wouldn't get past the login page. After taking a few minutes of "time" to investigate, we determined that the USB ports aren't working properly. So that meant scrounging up an adapter for the mouse so that we could plug it into the regular mouse port. Such simple things, but they take "time". I really savor the moments when the library isn't quite so busy, so that I can actually take a few minutes to catch up on what's new on WebJunction or TechSoup. They are both invaluable for information.
I personally make sure that I make time for the Rural Library Webinars each month even if I have to just listen while checking out books to patrons. It is usually a matter of priorities....

Hi Kim! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I liked your use of "savor," -- it's so clear that you and others (and me, for that matter!) crave time to really delve into topics, to get a handle on the questions that continue to burn, and to feel like you're hanging in there, rather than watching technology run ahead.

Your tip on listening to the Rural Webinars while multi-tasking was a great one! I wonder what other methods people use to keep up without falling behind?