How to begin well…

I’ve been at La Trobe University Library for three and half weeks now.

It’s been exciting, but also exhausting. There’s so much to learn, and there’s a backlog of tasks from since the previous incumbent left.

Which has meant I haven’t had a lot of spare brain capacity to step back and think about how i’m approaching my new job.

But it’s something I do want to think about.

My manager and I are both big fans of Alexandra Perkins’s talk ‘Making Yourself Redundant on Day One – Internal documentation to teach the next hire what you’ve learned‘. The gist of Perkin’s talk is: document what you learn when you start a new job, so it’s there for the next person in your role.

In that spirit, one of my probation tasks has been to document everything that I’ve needed as part of my onboarding: accounts I’ve needed created, systems I’ve needed to understand, processes I’ve needed to know.

Meanwhile, ALIA announced the next New Librarian’s Symposium will be on the week of 24 July 2023. I’d like to start giving talks at library conferences.

Given La Trobe is my first ever real job in a library, the most obvious topic would be: how do you make a good start at a new job?

What I’m trying to do:

  • Have clear probation goals. Get regular feedback whether you’re on track or not.
  • Know how you learn.
  • Document as you go.
  • Schedule time to revise what you’ve learnt.
  • Work with your manager to keep the workload reasonable.

Things I’m still working out:

  • Remembering everyone’s names, and what they do. (My last office had 20 people in it. My new workplace has 100.)

I’ll keep thinking about this…


I finally caught up on the newCardigan cardiCast where Hugh Rundle interviews Auckland University of Technology Universtiy Librarian and excellent person Kim Tairi. They talk about learning to be a library leader, reconnecting with her Māori heritage, AUT embracing the open source library management system Koha, and some tips about personal branding, and Tairi engages with social media.

Also: Russian has invaded Ukraine. I have been doing a lot of doomscrolling, trying not just to understand what is happening but to find some glimmer of hope that this doesn’t end with Kyiv under a puppet governemnt and endless human rights violations as they try to quash any Ukranian resistance. The Guardian has a list of practical things Australians can do to support the people of Ukraine.


About davidwitteveen

IT person. Zine Maker. Level 0 Library Nerd. Doctor Who fan.
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