REAL PUBLIC LIBRARIAN

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Life/Library Balance

Being a "real" public librarian, I also have a life away from the library. Or I try to - there is a temptation to put in many extra hours (well, I give my employer a few freebies but only because I choose to do things that I enjoy that are not strictly speaking part of my job description eg opening the boxes of new books after hours to see what's come in!) and/or continue to read/blog library stuff at home (guilty there too). However, ever conscious of the importance of the work/life balance to personal productivity, I have taken up sculpture as a non-work related hobby. By working the late shift on Wednesdays, I can attend classes on Wednesday mornings.

Generally for the first hour of the class I suffer from non-specific anxiety because I should be at the library and what if they need me and what if the manager calls with something urgent and what if something terrible happens and what if...But around about the hour mark the "flow" kicks in and I spend the next 2 hours working on my sculpture with a quiet mind and usually finish up feeling remarkably refreshed.

The classes are given in a studio atmosphere in a peaceful rural setting. There are the occasional outbursts of despair and cursing when something goes wrong or falls off, but the teacher (herself a skilled artisan) just reassures us that everything is resolvable or repairable. It's also nice to observe and reflect on the "studio" model of skill sharing - no one is pressured, everyone learns at their own pace on projects that interest them, and we all observe each others' work and share each others' frustrations, techniques, and triumphs.

At the risk of sounding sugary sweet, what a wonderful model for a workplace (such as a library, for instance). Just not sure about library customers in the equation, how could we imbue them with calm too...

8 Comments:

  • Wonder if this experiment would work: Place a blob of modelling clay, on a table, and invite your users to just... model.

    By Blogger Ivan Chew, at 6:32 AM  

  • Sounds like a very valuable class - great way to de-stress!

    By Blogger CW, at 8:04 AM  

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