Tuesday, November 2, 2021

My Experience as a Student Advisor on the Library Board

Although I have been a student advisor on the library board for a little over a third of a year, I feel like I have learned quite a lot about the bureaucratic process that goes on behind the scenes. I didn't realize that there was way much more than what meets the eye when it comes to the library running efficiently. This dynamic that I am able to witness has allowed me to get a bigger picture into how almost everything else runs.

The reason I chose to try to become a student advisor is because I wanted to gain a fuller knowledge on how the systems work to make our institutions run. I specifically wanted to be an advisor on the library board because I thought my knowledge was complete on how the library generally functions, but I realized that there was more that I didn't see. Through my position, I've seen the democratic based system that makes our library run. I've seen how the library board takes the nitty gritty details of running a library (things like making sure the library is on budget, balancing contractors for renovations, evaluating policies of the library, etc.) and tackles them for the betterment of the library. The library board is the mind in how the entity of the library itself runs, and it is a really neat experience to see firsthand why the board is there.

I think my experience in learning about the library board, and its traditions, has opened my eyes to how other institutions run themselves and how they keep themselves going. My position as a student advisor made me aware of things like boards and how they use about the same principles to accomplish very different things. I became aware that the school had a board and that they use the same rules of order to accomplish things for the school. I also learned that the band program at the school has its own version of a board to accomplish an even more niche category of things. This idea that you can have a board within a system under a board made me realize that the boards themselves are a miniature system of government within our government. I saw that boards used the idea of representation of the everyday citizen to get work done within the community. I then made the connection that boards are simply just an extremely scaled down version of how the government we have works, and those principles can lead to many great outcomes.

Through my experiences on the library board, I have become a better leader overall. I have been able to employ the democratic process that is used in library board meetings to make decision that concern people more than just myself. I now try to tackle problems by asking the collective what they think, versus my usual just trying to do everything by myself. This isn't the only positive thing that has come out of my position on the library board. Another positive thing to come out of my experience on the library board is how I became a bigger part of the library community as a whole. Although I was fairly well known by the library before I became a library student advisor, I think my position has made more connections within the community that I couldn't think of before. I became known to a group of people that I wouldn't think I would ever be known to. My name has become something; it has become recognized within the library community.

An important question still remains, what series of events led you to get this position? Well, to answer this question, we need to go back not too far. The basic series of events that led me here is like this; First I had started to volunteer in the summer going into my 7th grade year. It was then during this time where I started to assimilate into the culture of the library and started to understand the library better as a whole. Some time passes and sometime near the end of my sophomore year in high school, principal Mr. Jennings is interested in allowing high school students to be student advisors for different boards in our community. Mr. Jennings wanted to start this withy my class, the class of 2023, and see where we could take the program. When I saw that the library board was one of the possible boards to serve on, I instantly wanted to see what it would be like to serve on it. I don't think I ever regretted choosing to serve on the library board, and I don't think I ever will. I think, if you ever get the opportunity to serve on something as important as a board that makes decisions in your community, then you should always take the opportunity to do so.

- This writing brought to you by BPL Student Advisor, Braden Unruh

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