Thank you, and Good Night

I published the first post in this blog just over four years ago on July 13, 2016. When it started I wanted it to be a positive place for me to document my journey through librarianship and muse on topics relevant to the profession. I wasn’t always successful in this. In fact, my all-time most successful post was one I did in 2017 on toxic work environments. The frequency of my posts has been erratic at best and this will be the first public post I’ve made since January 1 of this year. This blog has been an account of my job search, opinions on opinions in librarianship, opinions on stereotypes. Once I made a data driven post about how pointless my previous job was. And then there are the posts about toxic work environments and mental health in the workplace, and that brings me to my next paragraph.

The last year has been very difficult for me both personally and professionally. I won’t get into the details, but I’ve been forced to look at all aspects of my life and work and there are indeed many areas in which I come up short and even fail. There’s also a recognition that I have changed a lot, too. Different things are important to me now, and I’m no longer sure where I fit. Add to that the fact that my confidence and self-esteem are lower than they’ve been since I was a teenager and I’m a bit of a mess. Don’t worry, I’m seeing a therapist and there’s nothing melodramatic happening here. That’s all being managed, but facts are facts. I’m keeping my options open for the future and looking for new opportunities. I have a hobby that I’m pursuing and am finding confidence as I improve with it. Hobbies don’t pay the bills though, and I have to slog through at work until I can either find equilibrium or something else, entirely.

This blog has always been called Tales of a Librarian, because that’s how I thought of myself. I was proud of that label and what it represented. I was never passionate about my work or my profession, but I was proud of it. The fact of the matter is, though, that after fifteen years of library work, five years after receiving my MLIS degree, and three years into what was supposed to be my dream job, I’m thinking of myself as a librarian less and less. And truthfully, I’ve yet to have a job that either A) was officially labeled a “librarian,” or B) required the MLIS degree. Furthermore, given my skill set and experience I’ve reached the glass ceiling in academic libraries. There’s no up for me to move to.

All of this is a roundabout way to say that while I love my community of librarians and library employees, I think it is time for me to step away from the bibiloblogosphere and ride off into the sunset. I expect this will be the final post in Tales of a Librarian. I wish you all good health and happy libraries.

If you are interested in getting to know me IRL or at least in my non-library associated self you can find me Twitter: @BerkbiglerJA; Instagram: @jberkpix, and a newer personal blog that Wifey and I are doing: Coupla Lefties.

As a child, whenever my dad would drop me off at school or wherever he’d tell me, “Make it a good day.” So, that’s what I’m saying to you. Be well, and make it a good day.

This Is [for] 2020.

In December 2018 I did my first “resolutions” post. I guess it’s time for the scorecard.

Read More

Out! Out, Damn Ego!

book and red wine on a marble table

Recently, I was a minor participant in a Twitter thread that began here.

Read More

Let’s See How This Goes: Returning to School

This August I officially reentered the life of a college student. I’m currently enrolled in San Jose State University’s iSchool’s Post-Master’s Certificate program. It’s a 16 credit hour program aimed toward strengthening the leadership skills for librarians in or aiming toward leadership roles. Due to a recent move, some family medical drama, and the changing nature of my job I’m limiting myself to only the required one credit-hour class, this semester.

Read More

I Got the Power: ALA Leadership Institute

From August 4 through 8 I was fortunate to attend the 2019 ALA Leadership Institute.

Read More

Sleeping in the Library

woman sleeping in library

Last month, I responded to someone on LibraryTwitter that I don’t follow about the ethics of allowing people to sleep in our libraries. Presumably, I only saw it because someone who I do follow liked it.

Read More

Taking Care of Myself: Forest Bathing

bright angel trail at grand canyon

My last post was all about how I was feeling “not quite right” and attributed it to a buildup of stress to the point of it expressing itself in physical symptoms — muscle tightness and tiredness, in particular. It was also getting bad enough that it was starting to express itself emotionally in irrational generalized anger. To the point that I told my wife one Saturday, “I’m not having a good brain day.” Luckily, I was able to control it and keep it from bubbling up at inopportune times or in inappropriate behavior, but it was definitely there.

Read More

Take Care of Yourself: Mental Health and Your Career

Like a lot of people, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety; more depression than anxiety, but they tend to go hand in hand because they are sweet, sweet, lovers. I know what my roots are — being raised in a toxically masculine culture where I was never the right kind of boy and all the self-loathing and isolation that entailed. My triggers are a bit harder to define, though.

Read More

Here Come the Big Boss?

This is a thought that I’ve been having, lately. “I want to be Dean someday.” The thrust of my career appears to be on a management track. I’m not a teacher. I don’t have a particular subject specialty. I’m not a tech guy, and I have a strictly pragmatic attitude toward data. My skills, experience, and training have been about procedures, practices, and policies. It’s been managing service points and solving problems. It’s been personnel, coaching, and mentorship. I’m going to be getting more and more exposure to management and leadership training this year, and eventually, I will outgrow my current situation and desire something different; something bigger. After being the department head at a large university the options for me will be to take a similar job at an even larger university, or an upper management position at a smaller one. This assumes, of course, that there won’t be a promotion opportunity in my current institution.

Read More

Let’s Break Some Shit

creative destruction

Over the last few months I’ve been in a, “Well, now what?” period of my career. I’ve steered my department through crisis and now that it’s passed I’m not sure what I’m doing in my position. If my career starts and ends running a circulation-reserves-stacks unit and never does anything different I’m going to bang my head against my desk until I’m dead.

Read More