December 30, 2015

Looking back at 2015

Today is my last day of work of 2015, so I've been tidying some things up around my office and reviewing my year. I've gotten out of the habit of posting about anything but kids, but I always find my annual retrospectives (2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009) useful, so I'll make the effort once again.

2015-at work
All things considered, this has been a good year professionally. Now that the boys are older, it's a little easier for me to travel again to conferences. I attended and presented at the WLA/MPLA Annual Conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the AzLA Annual Conference in Flagstaff - both trips were a lot of fun and I always feel recharged about my work after steeping in it with other librarians for a few days. At WLA/MPLA, I presented with some MPLA colleagues about evaluating open access journals, and at AZLA, I gave a presentation on personal productivity which was standing room only, and a lot of fun to do.

I was also selected to be a presenter for the ACRL workshop: "Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement," which means that, starting this spring, I will be one of two presenters giving a full day workshop to a few universities who were selected from a pool of applicants to have the workshop brought to their location. This is especially satisfying for me, since I had twice applied and failed to have this workshop brought to ASU several years ago. And now I'm one of the presenters! On a related note, I was highlighted as an ACRL Member of the Week this spring.

I had a pretty successful Open Access Week this year, particularly with a fun faculty panel discussion on open access publishing (one of the professors even blogged about her participation). We did an article drive to add articles to the ASU Scholarship Showcase Collection, which is now up to 654 articles (from barely 200 last January).

One of my favorite things this past year has been the greater involvement I've had with other departments on campus. I worked with our online education department on fair use and copyright issues related to online courses and MOOCs, and have had discussions about working together to increase advocacy for open educational resources. I also worked with our graduate department to clarify university policies on embargoing and archiving theses and dissertations, and have met with lots of different people regarding the ASU Digital Repository, copyright issues, and open access publishing. I've really enjoying having so many interesting conversations with people.
We found a staircase!

2015-at home
It was a great year, all things considered. I feel that we're starting to get a little more freedom again, now that Arthur's no longer a baby and they're both getting so much more resilient. Our camping trips, road trips, and cabin adventures were all lots of fun, and I look forward to more of these family vacations moving forward.

We added two kittens to our family this summer (I know - what were we thinking?!?), but now that they're all settled in with the other cats, it's not quite so much of an overwhelming amount of cat labor. Simpkin and Tabitha are really good with the boys, who adore them, and are lots of fun to play with. Tabitha and Sophie still get into it in the mornings, but I'm not entirely sure they're not just playing. In any case, that was one major change for us this year.

Looking forward to 2016 and Resolutions
I think we're going to have a lot of rapid change at my work this next year, as we hire some new upper administration. I hope we hire some really great people who are ready to shake this place up. There are plans for an entire remodel of Hayden Library, which may start as early as next January, so things will get pretty shifty around here. I've also got some balls in the air with respect to my own position,which, if they go through, will mean some pretty substantial changes to my responsibilities. I'm ready for change, though, and I have high hopes for a good year coming up.
Pretty amazing ride to work this morning! Also, hwy sign:"Aggressive driving is the path to the Dark Side."

I'm essentially rehashing my resolutions from last year, though. Trello is working pretty well for me for project management and to-do lists, and I've been following a lot of Cal Newport's writings with respect to productivity and time management. My big work resolution for 2016 is a ban on web surfing/reading at work, with the exception of specifically scheduled times. This is usually the cause of any productivity derailment for me. I've been severely limiting web-time for the last month or so, and I think it's really helped. I'm going hard core starting Monday!

And, while I'm better than I was, I still need to take better care of myself. This year, I am going to find a way to stretch and exercise on a regular basis again, and get back to better eating habits. I am going to plan more date nights for Chris and me - we need them!

I also want to be better about posting more regularly here. I love going back and seeing updates about Elmer and Arthur, and this is the best place I have for keeping track of their progress. So look for more regular posts about what's going on.

Happy New Year!

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