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Second Month Reflections

Written by Jessica L. Colbert, Resident Librarian, J. Willard Marriott Library

Wow, what a busy month. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write the reflection for my first month, but that’s probably because I wrote it a week late.

This second month has been a lot like the first month, except the semester is now officially in full swing! It’s so nice to see students working hard in the Library. As the semester is now in full swing, so is my outreach and collaboration. After meeting with some of the various resource centers, I met with faculty members and subject liaisons in order to share in the duties of being a subject specialist. It was surreal seeing my name listed on the “Subject Specialists” page on the library website. If cataloging and metadata somehow don’t work out as a career, maybe being a subject specialist wouldn’t be too bad, though I would need to get another advanced degree.

I have also finished doing the organizing and inventory of the Oral History Institute photographs. I start being trained in processing this Wednesday, and I have already started scanning to make digital contact sheets. An interesting thing this project has reminded me is that it doesn’t matter if something is perfect; it only matters if people can access it. Because so much of this collection is missing or possibly in the wrong spot, I was hesitant to start processing. “What if we label something wrong?” But my area supervisor assured me that the most important thing was not if we labeled it correctly but if it was accessible in the collection. If we spent time and energy waiting to see when things would show up or more information would come our way, then that item isn’t accessible at all.

Besides my project work and outreach, I have also attended a few trainings and retreats related to research. I learned how to properly manage my research data, how to submit IRB forms in the University of Utah ERICA system, and I spent a day at the library faculty Research Retreat. The Research Retreat allowed me to learn some best practices for research and writing, and I got to see what research interests my colleagues. It’s important to continue in professional learning and development!

In this third month, I’m going to be taking on more teaching, as well as preparing for my rotation in Research and User Services next semester. It has been a few months since I have had to lead library instruction sessions, so I hope I’m not too rusty. I’m also working on another article, a manuscript proposal, and more research ideas. Looking forward to another busy month!

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