Friday, October 05, 2012

Things they do not teach in library school: Office furniture assembly

When you hear LIS students or recent grads whine about what is or not taught in library school, you hear things like 2.0 stuff, or more reference, or some other esoteric topic. I am here to tell you what is missing from those conversations: furniture assembly. If you think that once you become a professional librarian, that you will always have some facilities guy or gal assemble your new office furniture, well, you may have another thing coming. So, in the interest of making light, and to provide a sample lesson to any library student out there, here is a bit on my recent furniture assembly experience.

When your new library director says to you that she wants you to make yourself at home, and that if you need any new furniture for the office to just ask, when you ask, it does not follow the furniture will come assembled. Besides, I work at Berea College, where we take labor seriously. So, if you ask for a new office chair (because your office came without one), this is what you might get:

Yes. You get a box with the parts inside it, and you get to assemble it:

With some patience and perseverance, your new office chair will look like this:

Now, being a cool (in my own mind at least) information literacy librarian, one thing I always wanted to have in my office was a small table that I could put some chairs around. This is to have a small space for student consultations. Since there was no table available (actually, there was a table, but the one offered was a conference table, a big oval thing. It is very solid but it takes up way too much space), naturally the director says, "no problem. Order one." So, I did. Naturally, it also came in a box. Finally today, I put it together. So, voila:

The chairs that are sort of peeking in the photo came already with the office. I am told that they may be antique and likely made locally, which I think is very cool. We get a touch of modern with a touch of classic. Over the table on the wall is a whiteboard so I can map concepts and do other exercises with students when they come see me.

So remember kids out there in library school or library land, furniture does not always come assembled. Sometimes you may even have to move it as well yourself. That table looks nifty, but it is a bit on the heavy side. Remember also, when you lift, use your knees, not the back.

On a serious note, I do have to thank my new library director. When I came in, she said that what I needed I could ask for. I am slowly settling into my job well. I have a nice office (right next to the director's, so she knows exactly where to find me) that makes a nice work space and an inviting place for students and faculty. And for that, I am grateful.

Oh, and if anyone needs someone to put office furniture together, I know a guy:

I just made that sign as a quickie joke in Office Word. It is hanging in my office door for a few days. We'll see what the boss says about it.

And thus we made it to Friday. On another serious note, in addition to putting furniture together, I was able to take a break and attend the meeting of the Group of 30. That is a local group of educational technology enthusiasts (faculty and staff) put together by our Director of Educational Technology. I just became a member. We meet once in a while informally to share ideas, present on projects we may be working on, and other things. Today we had two presentations: one on podcasting for a history class and another on using iPads for mathematics teaching. Both were very interesting, and I did enjoy learning more about what the faculty does. Plus, we did get a free lunch as well. So overall, a pretty good and productive Friday.


Oralia Sankey said...

I agree. When we delivered some tables and chairs to a library once, I think they expected us to assemble it for them right then and there. While it would’ve been okay for us if they requested it beforehand, but the fact that we were not prepared for it and most of our tools were still at the office, we couldn’t do anything for them but advise them on how they’ll be able to assemble it easily and what materials they will need.

Oralia @ C2C Global

George William said...

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