So, how’s it going?

Having reached six months at the new job, the next round of check-ins has begun, both from colleagues here on campus and friends from near and far.

All in all, it’s going pretty gosh-darned well.

I mean, they gave me a medal.

Investiture ceremony

Me and Michael, looking at the medal that was awarded as part of my investiture as the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Professor

The ceremony itself was lovely. (Here’s the press release about it)


I had an opportunity to thank those that had mentored me and made this amazing career moment possible. Which is always a good day.

In terms of actual librarianing and administrative work, progress is being made here in RBML.

  • I’m building relationships throughout the unit, the library, and across campus, meeting colleagues and collaborating on things that make sense.
  • We will be posting our new collection development policy publicly soon, once it’s been approved by the requisite internal committee.
  • I’m working on a space study, trying to figure out our growth over the next decade.
  • We’re  figuring out what our events and outreach schedule needs to look like, and planning it further ahead.
  • Same thing with our exhibition calendar.
  • Baby steps are being taken towards my exhibit for next year. I have an initial list!
  • I’m spending my first year on search committees for my unit, which is a lovely problem to have. We’ve hired a new full time manuscripts processor to begin June 15, and the Curator position search is ongoing.
  • I’m starting to take on occasional class sessions.
  • I’ve even started making baby steps towards my research (this blog post is mild procrastination for finishing off my survey questions, honestly, and taking the next step to getting the IRB exemption process completed).
  • My colleagues and my new boss(es) here have been, without exception, delightful from day one.
  • Our local friends have also been a bucket of awesome.

I’m still working on time management as an administrator. This place is very meeting-oriented, and I need to really get into the practice of literally blocking off my time on the calendar as unavailable so that I can work on things like my research and the exhibit. This gig also has a bit more travel involved, and I’m still navigating how much downtime I actually need around that, and balancing day-job travel with science-fiction travel and occasional-fun travel.  That adds up to a LOT of travel.

Michael and Caitlin are doing great. Caitlin is enjoying life at Urbana High, and Michael is enjoying being back in Champaign-Urbana. We both are. We love the combination of cultural-and-entertainment stuff to do that lives alongside most things we need being a max of a 20 minute drive away, often in walking distance. We go whole weeks without needing to use our car. The magazine is going gangbusters, and we’re mostly trying to remind ourselves that it’s okay to accept that being okay is a thing we get to do. We’ve happily committed to staying in the house we’re renting for another year, so we don’t have to move again for a bit, YAY.

So, yeah. After six months, still feeling good about the job change.


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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