Friday, August 25, 2006

2791 Social Capital in Librarianship, pt. 2

One of my big accomplishments in my career was the creation of a luncheon group to meet for social purposes. No rules, no dues, no business, just fun away from meetings, budgets and staff problems. Yes, me, who was not a joiner, created something for other people to join. Isn't that a hoot? The engineering librarian and I were talking one day at lunch about feeling left out, so we decided to create something.

The luncheon group we formed was called "Ladies of the Sciences," or LOTS, and it included all the female science departmental librarians who worked outside the Main Library. I think we also included a representative from the Health Sciences Library, which technically is a separate system on the campus and has its own funding stream. So it was the lady librarians in Agriculture, Vet Med, Engineering, Pharmacy, Geology and a Health Sciences person (this may have rotated).

Within the year, however, we'd started discussing business and had developed a listserv. It was also the era of the rising tide of PC--political correctness. It was rude to be exclusive, even for fun. So it was decided that LOTS would become, "Librarians of the Sciences" so we could include Bernie from Physics and Bruce from Biology and a couple of bibliographers from related but non-hard science fields.

I don't know if you've ever been in a SSSG (sex segregated social group), but it totally changed the dynamics of the group when we added men. Believe it or not, even middle aged librarians giggle, squeal, tell jokes and talk about fashion and babies when there are no guys around. But add a man (both Bruce and Bern are straight and Bern didn't eat lunch) and the camaraderie is gone. Soon it was all about cancelling subscriptions, realigning staff, changing priorities, paradigms and segueing. We started having "guests" like the ILL person, or our boss, or another assistant director. We may have even had Bill Studer, the director, lunch with us--can't remember.

The group is still going--I think they still use the format I set up--rotate hosting alphabetically and meet once a month at an off campus restaurant chosen by the host. Did I hear somewhere that they were going to have a retreat?

When your baby grows up, you don't have a lot of say in the direction she goes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings Norma!
Your Baby is still growing and going strong!