I found the weeks readings for this week to be particularly practical. Not so loosey goosey theoretical, but more hard tacts this is how you do it. Both the Woolls’ chapters were insightful on both personnel and budgets. For instances, I didn’t know how personnel were hired, nor did I think about how to manage volunteers and the strange position they might put you in. I also did not know how a budget is setup, or how the money is distributed throughout the school, although I had an inkling. What I took away most from Woolls’ chapter was butter up your principal, and learn to get along with them. The principal and you can make either a beautiful relationship, or a very messy one that doesn’t end in your favor.
From Doug Johnson’s blog, I read Budgeting for Mean, Lean Times. I was drawn by the title I think because not only am I big DIYer, but as a young married graduate student, this kind of budgeting rang pretty close to home. Doug offers some budgeting tips that worked for him, noting that he doesn’t remember a time when funding wasn’t an issue. One of my favorite quotes from him was: “As much as I hate sounding like a conservative pundit, I have to say more money is not always the answer to better services to staff and students. A good budget requires planning, prioritizing, and accountability. ” This reminded me a lot of Woolls’ chapter as well, that you must plan in order to avoid mistakes in purchases as to not waste money. It also reminded me of discussions in Ed Reform, where many times the consensus to helping reform was not just about money, but more about people.
I also read Doug Johnson’s post on Effective Library Budgeting, where he gives a break down of how to be an effective library budgeter. While right now, this seems fairly ambiguous, I know it is helping to plant a seed in me to help me grow into managing budgets. He’s kind of like my Suze Orman for library finance. I’m actually kind of excited about this part of the job, maybe it’s my accountant parents coming through.
Lastly, the Coatney chapter discussed how professional associations can help you in remaining a lifelong learner, and the importance of connecting and finding a mentor with others. They also point out the ideas of taking leadership roles in these associations to help be a change agent. I don’t know. I like professional organizations, and have belonged to a couple, but I never got a huge amount out of them. I got the most out of having mentors, and also being a mentor. I prefer one on one interactions over anything else… I often find being apart of a large group can be very hard for me. How do I overcome these personal traits? How do I make connections? Is it really necessary I do? Or can I still be a change agent?