Thank you for all you do.

I heard this phrase as one colleague passed it along to another in casual conversation a few days ago. It put a smile on my face to hear someone praise another for the work they do, the care they put into it, and their general kindness that’s all in a day’s work.

This past week was a big one for me. The library put on a series of events for Open Education Week and I helped organize, coordinate, or implement each event. I also received a Movers and Shakers award for innovation from Library Journal. Nice timing! It’s great to see my work from Open.Michigan acknowledged by the broader library community–that the beliefs I hold true are also thought to be legitimate by others.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of overlap in conversations, domain knowledge, perspective, and skills from my previous role as open education coordinator to my current role as special projects librarian. I think the make/remix/diy/connected learning culture that is starting to permeate our lives is a great direction to embrace and integrate with formal learning opportunities and efforts to provide stable, long term access to scholarly output.

You have to get nominated for this award. More important than anything, the support from my peers during the past two years that lead to this award are what made it happen. No one can achieve these things alone. When chatting with a friend (and founder of the A2DataDive), we both agreed that it takes a team to get things done: people with ideas, people with connections, people with resources, people with skills. When you have a good team behind you, I think almost anything can be accomplished.

Even though I got the ‘innovator’ award (which is very individualized), all my accomplishments are based on other people’s passions, ideas, interests, or needs. I just figured out how to put some of the pieces together and get help from others. Take this past week’s series of open education events this week. Our university is known for its departmental autonomy. We have a lot of freedom to innovate but often we do things in isolation from other units on campus. Open Education Week was a chance for us to look across the university and say “look at all these cool things that are going on that are all part of something bigger–let’s showcase the connections between our work.” So we coordinated some of the Wikipedia activities on campus with some of the OER production activities on campus, some of the Makerspaces research and projects, and conversations about online learning. We also started a conversation on campus about connected learning environments.

I didn’t come up with any of these ideas, I just helped bring folks together.  That’s the best part of being in a place like Ann Arbor and working at a library. I’m surrounded by smart, passionate doers. So to all the people I work with and to all the people who have supported me over the years–thank you for all you do.


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