The New IT Guy

The IT Crowd The IT Crowd

I can officially announce it now.  I’ve left my position with the Florence County Library System.  I turned in my resignation on Wednesday.  I’ve accepted a position with the South Carolina State Library as their new IT Director.

I actually live in between the two places so it’s only a slightly longer commute for me.  So, I don’t have to find a new place that let’s me raise chickens and has such gorgeous Spring flowers just yet.  Finding a place with a pond and better Internet providers would be nice though.

So, I will be the new IT guy there.  For those who don’t know the picture on the right it’s from a BBC comedy series The IT Crowd.  Let’s just say that I hope no one reading (or writing this) is one of these folks.  It will be strange being the director.  On the one hand, I won’t be doing anything with IT that I don’t already do.  However, I won’t be the primary sysadmin – instead they will work for me.  So, many things I’m used to doing myself I will have to delegate.  I can live with that but don’t think I’d be happy never having any hands on role.  Hopefully, this isn’t the Dilbert Principle in effect.  There will be many new things to do related and conceptually close to things I’ve already done.  I’m excited.  There are challenges ahead.

What for SCLENDS you ask, our Evergreen consortium?   Well, my role will stay the same but now instead of volunteering a lot of nights and weekends as an employee of Florence I will have it as a primary part of my job and hopefully only doing a bit on nights and weekends.  I get a more official say in building the infrastructure and future of SCLENDS.  It won’t be my job to say that SCLENDS must be the future of libraries in South Carolina but I believe that it will be as a result of market forces and social needs.  And maybe, just maybe, a cultural shift.

My posts here will continue to be written and posted on my own time and reflect only my own opinion and not those of SCLENDS, the State Library or any associated agencies or institutions.  Nor will I be posting as an employee of them though I always try to remain sensitive to their concerns.  So, with that said I know that my new position does reflect a growing need for centralization.  The fact is that as you look across human organizations there is always a central figure or tight group.  You may have responsible and competent sub chiefs but there is always a clearing house, a coordinator, a big picture person who makes decisions and takes blame.  SCLENDS has it’s executive body but I will take that role of the central person as I have for the last eight months.  As we’ve grown, matured, and demand for the services only available from a central party have grown we’ve evaluated and acted.  I stepped up and filled this role but everyone in SCLENDS looked to the State Library for leadership.  They also decided to restructure their IT a bit and thought leadership in their IT, leadership for technology in libraries and leadership for SCLENDS all needed a central figure.  I thought I was a strong fit for this role and am glad they agreed.

Have I mentioned that I have mixed feelings about the word leadership?  It makes it sound like a semi-mystical quality of a person.  I really think of it as work – communication, tracking, to do lists, negotiating, etc…. and it becomes leadership if people think well of you for it.  And, as always, they think well of your leadership if you’re successful and that happens with a good team.  So, leadership is a bit of a loop – it may help a team succeed but you won’t have the ‘it’ needed without that team being good all on their own.  I think I’ll have one at the State Library.

Anyway, enough procastinating.  I’ve already cleaned my desk, re-ordered one book shelf and written this blog post instead of preparing my staff day slides for tomorrow.