My previous position gave me a shared office space, shared as in we had the same computer, desk, and chair in what amounted to a large closet with a window ( to the inside of the library, CERTAINLY not to the outdoors) that we could utilize this way only because we worked opposite of each other. As a result, this never felt like MY desk and I disregarded using it as such. Important notes and documents stayed digital. If I needed a print record of something I had a few folders I just kept at the reference desk.
I now have a shared office again, but in the best of ways. Across from me sits the Special Collections Librarian. We sit in a spacious room, a wall full of windows out to the library floor that also looks out to the pond and the trees across campus. Each with our own U shaped desk and plenty of separate storage and shelving. More than I should ever fill, no matter how long I stay here.
And this is where personalities shine the most. We get along splendidly, any nervousness I had about the intimacy of sharing a work space in such a way quickly dissolved through laughter and conversations about the absurdities of the world. If you compared our work spaces though? You might think that we clash regularly. It is of a night and day difference. I can not keep a solid thought in my head when things are cluttered, and as a result my desk and how much of the surface you can see speaks directly to how clearly and productively I am moving forward.
For the first time since the semester began I was able to sit down and sort through paperwork that was tossed into sorta the right folders. An hour later, paperwork is where it belongs, my two in-desk file holders are neat, the jumble of pens have been narrowed down just those I use the most often (and of course less beloved pens to give students to use), many sheets of paper and post-its recycled, and a game plan for the day made, with the next months plans double checked.
That pile of books at the edge of my desk though seems to keep growing instead of getting smaller. Anyone else face this battle?
It isn't just the students who need a fall break, it's the librarians too.