As many of you know, in 2012 Codecademy made a push to teach people coding one lesson at a time and called it Code Year (they’re doing it again in 2013).
This adventure spread to libraries and the library community chronicled in several ways:
ALCTS/LITA Library Code Year Interest Group
Code Year ALAConnect Community page
Catcode Twitter list and hashtags #catcode or #libcodeyear
An IRC channel: #catcode (use http://webchat.freenode.net/ for free web access)
Libraries got their own page on StackExchange: Libraries & Information Science
I signed up for Code Year and did a bunch of the lessons. I also took several Python classes from the PyStar group in Philly (which has merged with the Python User Group or PUG). I attended a bunch of other coding related MeetUp sessions in early 2013. You can read about my personal adventures in coding and the development of the catcode group under the category coding or catcode.
Then I moved. And started a new job. And coding kind of fell off my radar of things to do in my spare time as I had boxes to be unpacked and a new neighborhood to explore.
But in the past nearly 9 months, there’s been plenty of coding by librarians going on. We now have a github space for the Library Code Year IG. There was this excellent article by Heidi Frank: “Augmenting the Cataloger’s Bag of Tricks” in the code4lib journal issue 20, talking about Python and PyMarc and MarcEdit (note the NEW web address for MarcEdit).
The ALCTS/LITA Library Code Year Interest Group is also hosting a full day Preconference at ALA Annual in Chicago on Friday, June 28, 2013 titled “Introductory Python Workshop” (registration info here: http://ala13.ala.org/ticketed-events#LITA ).
Today my co-organizers (Andromeda Yelton, Carli Spina, and Jennifer Young) and myself were notified that we received a grant to help cover the food costs for the preconference! This is wonderful news. Thank you thank you thank you to the Python Software Foundation for your support. You can follow them on Twitter here: @ThePSF
Spring snowstorm. Work is open. No delayed opening here. Sigh.
I’ve become a manager of a Unit of some size (7 direct reports and 2 vacant positions). And I find that it’s eating my brain.
More specifically, I find myself spending a very large amount of my time, both at work and at home, stressing about being a manager. Am I doing it right? Am I phrasing that correctly and clearly? Am I being consistent? Am I being fair? Have I accurately articulated my expectations? Do I have a solid foundation (reasons) for my expectations (can I back them up)? Have I explained and documented the policies/procedures? Where does this thing/part/question/decision/procedure/policy fit into the “big picture”? Am I going to regret making this change? Will this decision come back to haunt me later? Am I communicating (the right) things regularly? Too much communication? Not enough communication? And on and on and on…the questions never really stop. I’m constantly second-guessing everything.
[UPDATE:] My least favorite questions that constantly echo in my head: Am I setting/establishing precedence with this? What is the message being sent to everyone else? How will this affect my fellow managers?
I want to be a good manager. I want my staff to feel supported and challenged yet not overwhelmed. I want my staff to be successful and respected by their peers both within the library and in the larger world of libraries and librarianship. I want us to produce consistent and high quality work that means we’re meeting our goal of ensuring access for users to the “stuff” of the library/institution. I want my Unit to be productive and be a place where people *want* to work.
Like most people, I’ve had the bad manager experience. The one where you feel like they’ve put a target on your back and no matter what you do you’re doing it wrong. And there’s no guidance or direction. Just you floundering trying to read their mind. It’s toxic.
I’ve also had the good manager experience. The one where you feel like you are free to try new things and if you screw it up it will be OK. The one where the criticism they give is constructive and you’re always given the room to improve/correct. But they also give you clear guidelines and expectations so there’s no guessing game about what you are supposed to be doing.
That’s the manager I want to be. That good manager. And I’m finding it hard to balance stressing about being a manager with the actual doing part of management and also balancing it with the other non-management parts of my job. I’ve unfortunately been neglecting much of my professional and non-professional life because of the stress and time spent on being or trying to be a good manager.
Fellow (library) managers – how do you do it? How do you not spend all your time stressing about management and being a good manager? How do you not feel overwhelmed by it all the time? I want to be fair and kind/understanding yet not be a push-over. How do you strike that balance?