or, The Hitchhikerโ€™s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Hello, I’m the Swiss Army Assistant Director

   January 20th, 2016

In Mother Russia, sometimes the agent changes you.My library's long-time Assistant Director retired at the end of last year, and I am taking over that role. This means two things:

  1. My library is hiring a Head of Reference - if you're interested, check it out. It's fun.
  2. Second, since I'll no longer be a reference desk librarian, this blog will certainly change.

For whatever it's worth, I'm going to try to keep writing new posts here whenever I come across something people might find interesting. My desk hours are going to change drastically, so the Reference Question of the Week posts will be less frequent. Which is too bad, but we'll see what happens. I've done almost one of those a week for over nine years - wow.

I'm a little nervous about change. I'm sure things will be fine after all the transition, but not spending most of my time covering a service desk will certainly be an adjustment.

But really, if you're interested in being Chelmsford's new reference librarian, send in your resume. It's a nice place to work.

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25 Responses to “Hello, I’m the Swiss Army Assistant Director”

  1. Stacey Says:

    Congratulations! I’ll miss the Reference Question of the Week but am looking forward to interesting stories from an Assistant Director!

  2. Liane Says:


  3. Mara Says:

    Well earned!

  4. Amy G Says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to your posts every week also ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Roberta Says:

    Congratulations! I hope you really enjoy it. I was a little leery about moving from the desk to administration, but I found I really liked the big picture. And of course you still get to interact with the public a lot, even if the setting is different.

  6. Aisling Says:

    Congratulations! I’ll also miss the weekly posts on reference questions, but I look forward to any posts on admin.

  7. Cheryl Becker Says:

    I don’t care if you don’t keep posting the reference question of the week, but just please keep posting about important “day in the life of the library stuff.” Don’t stop this blog! OK?

  8. The Librarian With No Name Says:

    Great news! I’ve actually been The Branch Manager With No Name for a couple of years now, so I look forward to the new direction of this blog with great interest. I recommend either a Baffling Customer Complaint Of the Week or a Simple Procedural Change That Turned Into This Whole Thing Of the Week.

  9. Chris Says:

    Congrats!! Very cool.

  10. Sunflower Says:

    Congrats! You’ll be amazing!

    And do post when you can. I look forward to your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Brian Herzog Says:

    @everyone: thank you all very much – it is really nice to hear that people enjoy reading this. I’m so awesome. I also forgot to mention in my post that I’ve been in my current job since 2005, which is part of the reason the change will feel odd – moving to a different library entirely would be a completely new start, but starting a new job in the same place will involve changing dynamics (and sitting at the previous assistant director’s desk, which I still think of as hers). But I’m sure it’ll be fine.

    And I do expect there to still be a lot to post about, whether it be new services and resources or just innovations someone else here did that I can just take credit for. But I think a lot more of my job will also be paperworky/personnel stuff, which isn’t as easy to talk about publicly. So we’ll see – and if I post half as often, I’ll just try to make them twice as interesting.

  12. Kate Says:

    Congratulations! I have so enjoyed, and learned from, and laughed along with you over the years. I wish you all the best in your new role.

    I look forward to any future posts you make – you will always be the “Swiss Army Librarian”.

    Best wishes!

  13. Scott Says:


  14. Chris Says:

    Congratulations! I have only been reading your blog for about a year now but I have enjoyed it and look forward to your posts about experiences as an assistant director!

  15. Winona Says:

    Congratulations! I’ll miss the posts, but will relish them in whatever frequency we get ’em!

  16. Stephanie Says:

    First let me say, CONGRATS! Now let me be selfish for a moment. I have been reading your blog for about a year. It was passed to me from an older Reference Librarian and I have since passed it on to a newer Reference Librarian. You are kind of the torch we pass down, along with some of our own wisdom (I hope.) Anyway. . . I always loved knowing that even though I was a new, struggling Reference clerk there were others, more experienced, struggling too. Well you didn’t struggle much, but you were often thrown for a loop and I liked knowing that no one has all the answers. Not to mention all the interesting tidbits you have passed along. I HATE to see you go, but I am sincerely happy for you. So let me just say, Thank you! You will be missed, but hopefully not for too long or too often.

  17. Dave Says:

    Congrats Brian! As a new librarian, your blog gave me some valuable insight to the reference desk world. Best of luck in the new adventure!

  18. Kari Whitney Says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to applying for the reference job and substituting “many years of faithful readership of the Swiss Army Library blog” for some of the qualifications ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Truly, I look forward to the new incarnation of the blog as you assume new duties and adventures. Best wishes!

  19. Elisia Says:

    Woah! I’ve very much enjoyed your blog, and I will still faithfully check in to see what’s new on your side of the country. You’ve certainly made Chelmsford feel like a really cool place to be, and if I had my degree I would apply! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck in your new position.

  20. Jen M. Says:

    Congratulations Brian!
    I too just moved from Head of Reference to Asst Director this month. I’m looking forward to learning the job with you!!! Best of luck!

  21. Becky Says:

    Congrats Brian! I’m looking forward to continuing to read your blog in whatever new form it takes. Change scares me too – I crave it, and then when it actually happens I have a moment (sometimes a long one) of AHH WHY DID I WANT THIS. But then I settle in and it stops being scary. I know you’ll be great in your new role!

  22. Randy Robertshaw Says:

    Well deserved. Congratulations.

  23. Jamie Says:

    Congratulations Brian! You will be an excellent Assistant Director!

  24. Sarah Regan Says:

    Congratulations Brian!

  25. Benjamin Kalish Says:

    Congratulations, Brian!