ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 3, March 1999) -

        In the last edition of Associates, Kendall announced that I would be writing the next editorial. That was a surprise, especially since I have never written an editorial. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained and thanks Kendall!

        As some of you may know, I work at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. We are one of the three National Libraries, the other two being the Library of Congress (LC) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). I started at the Library in 1988 as a secretary. Then I worked at the circulation desk for a couple of years. Next stop was the Acquisitions and Serials Branch, and my final stop (for now!) is the Cataloging Branch. Although I miss the interaction with patrons, I must say that the Cataloging Branch has been the most rewarding and stimulating for me. My work includes copy cataloging, as well as the original cataloging of Dissertations and Analytics.

        Currently the first floor of the library is undergoing a much overdue renovation. Everyone on the first floor has been moved to various locations within the library (our building is 14 stories high, along with a ground floor and sub-basement!). Well, everyone that is except the Cataloging Branch! They just couldn't find enough space for all of us. Also, the management felt that the disruption would be minimal. The disruptions include completely gutting the rest of the ground floor, and the renovation is scheduled to last one year!

        The renovation has caused our management to consider alternate working conditions and ideas. As of March 1, 1999, I am scheduled to begin a program know in the government as Flexi-place. It means that two days a week I will work at an alternate work site. My work site just so happens to be my home. My office supplies the necessary computer equipment. The days I work at home are agreed upon by myself and my immediate supervisor. The two of us also agree upon what type of work will be done at home.

        I am very much looking forward to this "experiment". If all goes as planned, flexi-place will be a permanent part of our work environment. There are certain guidelines which need to be meet in order to participate in the program. The employee must have a certain rating on their performance review, and must have shown that they are a self-motivated individual. In addition, separate statistics will be kept to compare them to the amount of work produced at the "office".

        Currently I will be the "guinea pig" and if everything goes as planned, others will be allowed to try it out. Not everyone in my office wants to participate in this project. Some say that with other family members at home during the day, the would not be able to concentrate. Others just like the interaction that happens in an office setting. Me, I look forward to the challenge. Of course I also look forward to staying in my PJ's, not fighting the traffic, no waiting for the car to warm up, no scrapping the ice, etc... Well, I guess you get the picture!

        If any of you are currently involved in such a program, I would love to hear from you. I'll be sure to keep you posted on the results and pros/cons of flexi-place.

Susan Salt
Events Editor

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