Board time, or, Life in the fast lane?

And now back to some library-related posts because I’m sure the non-Star Wars readers are tired of my con diary!

I spent a little time last weekend working on a couple of NASIG items, prepping things that need to go out to the membership. With so many folks at ALA, it just doesn’t make sense to send anything to the list email right now. Most folks will be returning to work and trudging through email that has built up. I’d hate for them to miss the results of the site selection survey or feel they don’t have time to participate in a continuation from the conference brainstorming session discussion! Fun stuff!

That NASIG brainstorming session centered on why members don’t want to run for the board, in particular the VP/Pres-elect and treasurer slots. I remember one concern was the time commitment that might be required by those positions or other positions on the board. It really is hard to pin down. There are some days when the emails fly fast and furious; and other times there’s only a trickle for an entire week. There are some board assignments – like helping to pull together an RFP for technology, strategic planning, serving on a search committee, etc. – that require more time.

Speaking from experience, I do occasionally have to put in some night and weekend hours. I repeat, occasionally.

I mentioned during that brainstorming session that the committee appointments process was a lot of work in late winter/spring and up until about 4 weeks prior to the conference. That may be related more to my own organizational skills or lack thereof (though I think most past VPs agree it is a time consuming process). Preparing for board meetings (printing/downloading reports, reading said reports, and travel to and from) are probably the next most time consuming aspect for the VP. The board email might take about 1-2 hours a week, if that, on the average. My liaison responsibilities last year to PPC and the Newsletter required varying amounts of time throughout the year. I spent time reading numerous site proposals, too, which were usually 2-3 page documents, then compared notes with the president and secretary in order to narrow down our choices. There were occasional phone calls to individual board members or other NASIGers. For the most part, I’d say I had no problem keeping up with email during my regular work hours, but often had to save report prep, reading and response for evening reading. Too many interruptions at work. I made time at work when I needed to, if responses were required right away.

I compared my VP time to my time as Newsletter editor. During the month of production (in particular the last 2 weeks before an issue went “live”), I probably worked 5-10 hours a week, 4 to 5 times a year. Many nights and weekends. Lots of correspondence with the PDF and HTML editors. I’d really be interested to hear from our committee chairs about the time they have to put in. I hope some of them chime in when we get the discussion started on NASIG-L.

Now that I’m president I expect there will be some very busy times. Hopefully we’ll make a decision to move forward on our technology RFP, we’ll revisit our strategic plan, and take another look at the financial plan. It’s hard to predict what may come up. I’ll try to keep you posted. Two things I have been procrastinating about: updating the VP committee process guidelines to get to Jill E. — I warned her it wouldn’t happen until after ALA — and writing that first president’s column which Kathryn will want by August 1. That sounds like it’s far away, but you know what they say about time…

Bottom line: I don’t think you can expect to take on the role of board member and get all your NASIG work done on your regular work time. If you can, more power to you! You are super-serialist!


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