I used to make fun of a couple of librarians that used to live and die by the calendar. They carried them around like babies and they were incapable of functioning without consulting the calendar. Sadly, the time has come where I now have to admit they were right. It has been a year in my new position as a youth services librarian and the calendar is now my hated enemy or best friend. Sorry, there is no middle ground here.
I have decided that my love hate relationship is a combination of two factors in my life: working at a smaller library and the move to youth services from adult. Smaller libraries live in a constant state of anxiety with regards to scheduling. Our staff is not deep. All it takes is a sick employee converging with another employees car problem and the next thing you know we have to close. Luckily this has not happened but we have come close.
The move to youth services is another calendar driving event that is also different from my personal experience in adult services. Now I have to think about meeting room availability, school schedules, traffic, and a million other little details. Good programming requires forward thinking months in advance. In my previous job, I thought in usually 2 month increments. Thinking out programming 6-12 months was beyond comprehension. Now I am convinced that super librarians think years out with respect to programming.
This past year time management has been a difficult issue for me and ended up causing me quite a few bumps. Thank God other staff warned and pestered me about deadlines and possible issues that might come up especially with respect to summer reading. Where I was focusing on specific program offerings, I should have been paying attention to the life cycle of our library all the time. Getting a big picture overview of the summer and of the year would have made for more efficient use of resources as well as better program choices.
So now that I am assessing my year as a youth librarian a couple of things have become absolutely clear.
You will flourish or die based on your relationship with a calendar.
This means that you have to pay attention in all aspects of the library and your community that might possibly intersect with your programming. Examples include building staff schedules, school calendars, other area or community programming, ALA promotions (which I always forget), interesting holidays and even not so interesting holidays.
Summer Reading planning begins right after you finish the last day of summer reading.
At the very least, there should be on-going notes about what worked and didn't work to apply for next year.
Even if you have no theme or plans, at least start setting aside times and ideas regardless how "complete" the idea or program, into the calendar to save space and resources.
Do not attend a meeting or any event without a calendar in hand.
Don't leave home without it! Get in the habit of having your calendar everywhere you are. You never know when an issue will rise or schedules will collide.
I am still not a good time management person. I am easily distracted and conversely can become totally engrossed in an idea. The difficulty is always assigning the right amount of time or attention to the right things. Hopefully, acknowledgement is the first step! Let me get back to you in a year and see if I get better with this calendar business. In the meantime, don't touch my calendar or I will be forced to kill you.