I’ve been in my job for a year and 6 days. I took the job knowing the library was in the midst of a capital campaign and would be approaching construction. In my head, I knew this. I lay awake at night trying to figure out what I would need to do to get us ready. We weeded our collection, getting it to a more manageable size and getting rid of out-of-date information. I would say I have personally touched every book in the adult collection and moved the majority of them at least once. For every single one of them, the choice had to be made: keep or weed.
While this was going on, I had to decide where everything was going to go. We went from two floors to one for the duration of construction since the entire lower level was to be overhauled. We rearranged and shifted books. And then did it again. And again (that last one was because I hadn’t thought far enough ahead). I had to choose where everything was going to go, what was going to be available and what would have to go into storage.
I’ve had to juggle programming, staffing, hours of operation. All of these choices that had to be made and justified.
And the worst of it so far has been this week when we were choosing furniture. I understand why someone hires a decorator. We needed a desk, conference tables and chairs, hard seating, soft seating, and shelving for downstairs. How tough can that be? Let’s just consider the desk.
What configuration? How high? Can we use a standard desk rather than custom, or do we have one section different than another? What type of laminate? Do we want file drawers here? Also, what sort of edge? Grommets? Where? Divider? Transaction counter? And do we want a translucent panel on front? What color edging around that? And then we need a chair for the desk! Black or chrome base? What color is the back? What do you want for the seat? Fabric? Great! Here’s a binder six inches deep with options.
Four hours later, we’ve hammered out almost everything and we’re feeling good about our choices.
Until this morning when I start worrying. I’m trying to keep myself in check. I’m not going to undo all the work we did. I know most of the choices were sound. I know some of them don’t really matter; we’ll live with whatever we get. I also know people are going to be judging the choices we made, sometimes favorably, sometimes wondering what we were smoking.
But that’s the thing about choices. You have to make them. And then you live with them. Some people get so tied up in options that they can’t make a decision. They can’t move because they can’t pick a direction to go, too afraid to make the wrong choice.
Looking back, I know I’ve made some stupid decisions. I’ve passed on opportunities I probably should have embraced. Knowing that could make me hesitant to make decisions now, make me not trust myself. It has definitely affected me. I am more apt to say yes because I’ve rarely regretted jumping in to something, not like I regret missing out. But I’ve also learned that you can’t have everything and it is okay to say no. My life would be very different if I’d said yes to any number of choices along the way, but it’s still a pretty good life.
So, if you stop by my library after the renovation and remodel is finished, I hope you like what you see. If you don’t like it, well, feel free to donate lots of money and we’ll take your suggestions for change into consideration.