“Projects, Positions, and Persistence: Finding Identity and Focus in a Time of Transition” (Standard)

Tuesday, June 8, 3pm

Grace Therrell (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

This session will be a look into my experience developing a new project, The Teaching Bridge, and new position, Online Learning Librarian, in my library and how the two have influenced each other. The session will largely focus on my impetus and process for developing the Bridge as well as how this project influences and represents my identity as a teaching librarian. By talking about creating the project in relation to learning a new role and solidifying my professional identity, I hope to talk about persistence and resilience in a way that is authentic for others who are also juggling projects and ideas while learning new things in their work.

The beginning of the session will provide some context and a foundation for the discussion of the Bridge project and navigating a new position. I’ll talk about the institutional structure and where my role fits in the library and institution as a whole. I will also talk about my previous experiences before I started this position that affected both my identity as a teaching librarian and my desire to create the Bridge project. I will spend part of the session sharing my experience navigating a new role, not only for me as an early career librarian, but also for my institution. I’ll discuss what persistence and resilience looked like for me during the first six months of my position, pre-pandemic. I will also talk about the beginning stages of thinking about this project and how it affected my first six months of work.

The remainder of the session will focus on what happened after the pandemic–developing this project while simultaneously learning more about my role and creating a clearer focus for it. I will share how I learned more about my role through conceptualizing and developing the Bridge. I’ll outline my process for creating the site and tie it to how the site and my role influenced each other. I’ll share the purpose for the project, what I wanted to accomplish, how it reflects my position and ties into my values, and what persistence has looked like in developing and implementing it.

At the end of the session, I’ll share where I want the project to go as well as what I’ve learned about my role and myself as a new professional. I will share how I have viewed persistence in creating meaning in my work by finding ways to honor my identity as a teacher and incorporate my professional values.