May travels and summer meetings
Facebook tells me that in May of 2012, 2013, and 2014, I was out and about. In the past, it was hiking to the third highest mountain in England, falling asleep on a long road trip, or posting panoramas of baseball stadiums. This May, it was no different, filled with a mix of personal and professional travel, tossed in among finally exploring State College in the summer.
My May begins in Colorado, where I went to visit my partner. I was there on a beautiful weekend and got some short hiking in.
The trip wasn't complete without watching a baseball game in downtown Denver and grabbing coffee with my undergrad friend, Angela, at a Dunkin' Donuts near the airport.
I flew from Colorado to Indianapolis and took a bus to Purdue University. I was attending a conference sponsored by the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA). It was library focused and I learned a lot about cataloging, metadata, and collective collections. There is something nice about having this immediate cohort of librarians based on your Big Ten status. The reception the first night was held in the soon-to-be-opened Active Learning Center at Purdue. It's a great space, will include some of the science library materials, and be open for students 24-7.
Once back in State College (after we got delayed and spent an extra night in Detroit), it was back to the summer of projects. I haven't had nearly the reference traffic I had during the semesters (expected) but I'm keeping busy with our common reading program, student employee training, undergrad research planning, outreach, and more. When nice weather prevails, I try to bike to and from work. The hills are still tough and most days I miss my standard route in Urbana, IL. Regardless of the hills, it's nice to get on a path and bike. There's something calming and exciting about getting myself to campus on my own two feet. My goal is 50% this summer so I hope the rain will stay away.
Outside of work, I tried my hand at an escape room with some library co-workers (we didn't 'escape' in an hour) as research for an outreach project and got to relive the carnival days during a Memorial Weekend festival in a neighboring town. State College has nothing on Chambana for a patio scene so I've been trying to recreate all the summer nights I spent at the Blind Big on my own patio or down at Big Spring Spirits.
And then it was June. As we round the corner into the final weeks of the month, I round it with exciting news. In the midst of all this travel and activity, I also was going through an internal search. As of July 1st, I'll be the brand new Student Engagement Librarian. It's tenure track, which is both an exciting challenging and daunting prospect. However, I feel well supported and encouraged here at Penn State. The position is more programmatic but still focused on student success. I'll get to keep doing all the things I love (working with students, doing outreach and engagement activities, reference and instruction) but then get to add being a part of campus-wide discussions on engaged scholarship and working more closely in collaboration with our campus librarians and staff. It's exactly the sort of job that fits my strengths, allows me to help build community, and promises me the opportunity to stick around for at least six more years (and try things again and again).
As I think about what's to come, I remember my favorite phase from Rebecca Solnit: "Never turn down an adventure without a really good excuse."