Under construction

My youth services department has been under construction for 500 years, give or take.  Along the way, I have learned a few things which I thought I’d share with anyone feeling foolish enough to want to attempt a library construction project of their own.

I’m starting with the most important thing:

1. Be willing to be annoying.

This is not the time to be nice, to be flexible, to be accommodating, to be respectful of other people’s busy schedules.  This is the time for you to nail down, preferably in writing, every single detail about your project.  This is the time to clarify, to ask questions, to make sure that you understand something thoroughly and that everyone else sitting at the table understands it the same way too.  If people start to look irritated that you’re asking about another detail, then you’re on the right track. People never looked irritated with me, and so lots of mistakes got made on my project.

2. Be willing to work with people who annoy you but are good at their jobs. Everybody brings different skills to a project. One person might be extraordinarily detail-oriented; another person might be a great big-picture person. One might remember to think about where you need a data-line and another might be excellent at remembering that once a year you are building something that needs a lot of room.  If you opt only to work with the detail-oriented person because they are congenial but the big-picture person bugs you for some reason so you don’t bring them in soon enough, you will be hurting yourself in the end.

3. Double-check everything. Don’t assume that if you have wooden bookcases that they will be replaced with wooden furniture, because you will end up with metal furniture that way.  There is a reason I know this.

4. Ask to see pictures of everything, especially if you are not a good visual person.

5. Be willing to be annoying when the things are delivered, if they aren’t right.  They are going to walk out happy while you are stuck with something that doesn’t quite work, if you don’t check everything out thoroughly at the time. The company wants a happy customer, and this is your only chance to get things right, so don’t look the other way when something isn’t installed correctly or wasn’t built properly to begin with.

6. Don’t confuse being annoying with being unpleasant.

I’ll bet if I ever get moved into my new office, I’ll have some more tips to share. Anyone else have some construction thoughts they’d like to pass along?

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One Response to Under construction

  1. Ian says:

    Good advice, Susan. In fact, I think these apply to more than just construction projects.

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