It’s always nice to get away from the daily details of work and do some more strategic planning and preparation. There’s a lot of day to day detail that my team have taken on and excelled at under difficult conditions.
Today that freed me to meet with colleagues from other organisations and to praise everyone’s hard work to senior management.
In only a few short months since the restructure we’ve managed to deliver events and innovative partnership pilots in ways that have drawn praise and notice. That was how I ended up brought in to start discussions on how we can deliver against strategic targets and develop best practice and mentorship on how we’ve been operating.
Fair to say I’m a bit fired up from the day. I may have got on my soapbox a couple of times.
The universe plainly decided that I needed another last Saturday at the pit face, and so people went sick or on holiday and I stepped into the breach.
By now there’s no doubt I’m in the new role properly – I was in conversation via Teams with other senior managers about a number of issues, and my branch managers were keeping me copied in as they resolved or headed off issues.
And at the same time, as we closed up the small library this evening, I’d be lying if there wasn’t a small pang as I took some pictures to remind me:
Next week… well I already know the main challenges lined up. We’ll see what happens.
In the morning it will be my last Saturday as a Duty Manager, and most likely my last Saturday working front-line, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
On a very superficial level it’ll be nice to have my weekends back, even if I’m on call from time to time, especially as we head into the summer. On the other hand it has been a feature of my life over the last nine years that has led to a range of memories.
I think it’s starting to feel more real, especially as I’ve been pulled more and more to do work for and in transition to the new role this week. The new job officially starts on the 1st, with the new rota from the 5th – so I’m not entirely sure how next week is going to pan out.
My last Saturday though. Feels odd to contemplate that after so long. No more being the manager of one library in a group, now a much wider set of responsibilities awaits. Fingers crossed, eh?
We’re still shuffling things for the restructure, and I have new twists appearing every day. Today I’ve gained a new manager, and lost one, but then that person will now be a peer at my level, while others have been receiving less happy news.
I am so pleased for the people who have succeeded, even while cursing under my breath at yet another rota reshuffle being needed. I’m also looking for ways to support and build up people who haven’t been successful, especially where their nerves have got the better of them.
Even with all the deadlines and shuffling around, the basic needs of my staff and colleagues are important and I’ll be looking how best to help people along while we keep the wheels turning.
There’s only another three weeks of the month left, and a lot still to shuffle through in terms of the restructure and a tech refresh and system migration that’s pretty much all happening at the same time.
Sounds chaotic, and there are elements that are dancing round each other like tightly contained dervishes, topped by sparklers and accompanied by cries of confusion…
…and yet its happening, more or less to plan, and with the wider view I now have with inclusion in conversations I have a better appreciation of both the scope and pace of change and of the essential kindnesses that lie behind decisions taking place.
I am reminded again that the people driving what appears to be a chaotic dance are just that: people. I’ve always tended to be mostly blind to titles, for better or worse, but having a chance to actually engage with the new level of management has finally put personalities to the names seen on emails.
But it is still three weeks until I am actually in post, and in the meantime I still need to juggle this engagement with keeping the day job going: managing the day to day business of an individual library and the staff and customers based there. It puts me on both sides of the process, so I suppose it’ll keep me busy…
Yesterday was exhausting due to a number of people going sick, but in general it was still just as rewarding. There are so many young families rediscovering the libraries and hearing the laughter of small children back in the library has been uplifting.
We were going to game this evening, but general exhaustion and lack of spoons led to us deciding to have a night off – so I’ve been making random spare battlemaps on www.inkarnate.com that may end up being used, or may not. I’ll add copies to this site in the next few days.
Meanwhile, here’s some pretty dice that arrived this afternoon:
I can, at last, announce that my interview the other day as part of our restructure was successful. I am going to become the group manager for our local libraries. This means I’m effectively replacing my existing boss, who is shuffling sideways to another area in search of new challenges.
All very exciting.
The biggest goals ahead are to finish the rest of the restructure, and to continue reopening our services to our communities and partner organisations. In doing so I want to expand the range of organisations we work with, and become much more inclusive and cooperative in planning the services and use of spaces that we have.
Fair to say the brains of myself and colleagues/staff are fizzing in contemplation. In addition I’m now styling myself as the King in the North (of Surrey) and will be setting the Saturday staff tomorrow the challenge of designing me a new throne out of spare acrylic stands and withdrawn bookstock. This is probably a joke.
I hate sitting on good news, but it was only fair to wait until everyone who had been interviewed or involved had been contacted and updated. I may have shared a bottle of rioja with Lady M last night in celebration.
Sometimes, when I have an idle moment, I cast an eye out at the carpark outside my current library (we rotate between sites mostly, it feels sometimes, to annoy the staff) and I marvel at the parking skills on display.
My particular favourite in the loosest sense of the word today was the SUV that was half parked across one and a half disabled bays. By half parked, I mean only the front half of his vehicle was in the chevrons surrounding it, leaving the rest poking out and blocking egress for any other vehicle that wanted to leave.
He’d just dived in you see, and not being disabled he didn’t want to take up a marked disabled bay. So he blocked everything and two disabled bays at once. I did point out the free parking on the other side of the road that was totally empty but by then he was fleeing with his child’s reserved books.
Most of my messages to people today have been to convey my absolute delight with the reactions of young children to the library today.
The message that most sums up the experience of today was: “I have had just the cutest youngsters in today having their minds blown by all the books available – toddlers that were last here as babies for rhymetime now being able to walk round, touch books, big smiles and wide eyes.”
It has melted my heart and brought joy to all – a memory I shall treasure