I’m always amused by what sticks with me after a conference. After two days at the IDS Conference and a half-day meeting with other SUNY library directors, here’s what’s on my brain: Doors.
Specifically, librarians and doors. I was chatting with a library friend at the IDS conference, and she revealed that she has no door on her office — not in a way that provides privacy. And she supervises several staff members. I was floored (to use a bad pun of an architectural analogy). How can we expect librarians to function effectively and efficiently in management positions without the tools of the trade? I’ve always believed that an environment that allows privacy, respect, and confidentiality is just as much a management tool as basic skills in project management, budgeting, writing performance plans, and communicating effectively are. How can you do the other work without the door? (Walls are good, too.) I have taken it as given that if you supervise staff, you have a door (and walls), and as such am building some construction costs into my budget for 2010-2011 to accommodate the staffing changes that arose from our reorganization — we have need of walls and a door in our Collection Management unit.
But I know lots of librarians who work in cube farms, and do so successfully and with a minimum of strife with Irritating Cube Neighbors. I also know I’ve been lucky in my own jobs to have adequate and effective offices that suited my role in the organization, and that I’ve worked for organizations that have reinforced my own sense that this is The Right Way To Do It. So I’m curious: How ubiquitous is my situation, compared to my friend’s?
Do you have an office with walls and a door?
Do you supervise staff?
Do you think one way works better than the other?
I don’t expect any scientific results… but if you’re willing to share, I’d love to know more about the examples being lived, and how that works for you.