Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2009-01-12

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

I fully admit it: I am a paperphile, an embracer of clutter. I'm one of those people whose desks always looks like a bomb hit it. I've had many fits of tidiness over the years, where I'd go through all the junk, recycle at least half of it because whatever it was about was no longer relevant, or a deadline for some optional-but-awesome thing had passed, get to actual desk surface, and then...just let the vicious cycle start all over again.

This was particularly the case at my not-so-new-anymore job (hi, I've been a high school librarian for nearly a year now!) where I inherited my first-ever four-drawer filing cabinet (yay!), which was mostly full when I arrived. I realized quickly that I spent maybe 30 minutes a day in my actual office, but had no time to think about how that would affect my organization strategies.

Now, I don't typically make New Year's resolutions, because I think January is actually a horrible time to make resolutions -- come on, this is prime hunker down and hibernate time! Who wants to change stuff up now? -- but I did come up with two umbrella concepts for 2009 (and, I intend, for years to come): Tidy As You Go and Reflect, Don't React.

Reflect, Don't React is designed to get me to take a beat, a breath, a moment to think about what is essential in a given situation before responding. I can be prone to grouchiness if I let little stuff pile up mentally, so this practice (which is really just a quick & dirty version of mindfulness meditation) is designed to wean me off that habit.

Similarly, Tidy As You Go is a small investment of time & thought each day with a larger long-term payoff: not living like a slob. It is also a tribute to my long-suffering husband, the neatnik, who has often been known to say, "Baby, if you would just tidy as you go, you wouldn't have all these papers/sweaters/shoes/pens scudding about! Everything would live somewhere and you could find stuff!"

So, what does this have to do with libraries? Plenty! The brilliant folks at Switzerland County (IN) Public Library wrote a post all about it at their events blog. This is great, but I would love to see public libraries holding ongoing monthly programs -- either hosted by an employee who is an organizational guru, or by a local expert (maybe a member of NAPO?) on this topic. You just know you have tons of books on this topic. There are a gazillion articles, blogs, tools, Flickr sets online -- Getting Things Done, Zen Habits, Online Organizing, Pile of Index Cards, Remember the Milk, Jott, etc. -- so there's something out there for everyone, but who's going to organize it, annotate it, synthesize it for them? You, the friendly neighborhood librarian.

Collect resources, aggregate them, make them easy to find, and help your community members integrate them into their lives. We do that really, really well, so let's DO IT.

I feel a post coming on about specializing services through our passions & interests (and really, what is this blog but a celebration of learning to be a specialist librarian by choosing to follow one's passionate interests?) -- this is a classic example.

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