How To Start Your Own Mini Administration Library in 3 Simple Steps

A Mini Administration Library!?

A year ago, I took a course in which I was challenged to develop a creative project to reflect the study and practice of my specific field - in my case, educational administration & leadership - and I came up with one of the most fun and useful projects I've made to-date, called the Adminibrary.

I came up for the idea for the Adminibrary ("miniature + administration + library") by thinking of my bookshelf in the office where I work at a local university, not as just a place to store all my books, but as an opportunity to share admin + leadership knowledge with my co-workers. I decided to turn my bookshelf as a miniature library and even created a postcard to "advertise" that the books on the Adminibrary could be borrowed (more about that here). 

The best part of the Adminibrary it is that it sparks impromptu conversations with other administrators about their practice and giving them an opportunity to reflect on what they do well. I'll show you how, in the 3 easy steps below, how you can create your own in practically any space available.

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1. Claim a space in your office or open workstation for your mini library.

The space you claim for your mini administration library can be small - and I mean small! When I first started the Adminibrary, I had my own small bookshelf in my office, but when my office moved to a new building and I began to work in an open workstation, I used a small shelf for my mini library instead. Yet, as small as it is (about 1 cubic foot of space), it comfortably fits about 20 decent-sized books. Depending on the size of books you have, you might fit a few more or a few less, but this doesn't have to a huge space.

Here are a few examples of possible spaces to set up your own library, no matter how much (or how little) space you have available:

  • A bookshelf (or just a single shelf in a bookshelf)
  • The top of a cabinet
  • An empty space on a shelf in a workstation or cubicle
  • An empty space on a desk (hint: use bookends to keep books from falling over!)
  • A common agreed-upon area for the whole office to share administration + leadership books

2. Collect materials.

If you're anything like me, you probably have dozens of books that you may have bought for grad school or for research, and now, you have a place to proudly store these books in your own mini library. But you don't have to limit yourself to books - you can include printed copies of your favourite articles, education journals, your thesis or dissertation, conference papers, a USB stick full of your own writing...the possibilities are endless! 

Try collecting a few of these materials for your own library:

  • Administration + leadership books
  • Printed copies of journal articles
  • Educational Administration journals
  • Printed copies of online articles or blog posts
  • Higher education magazines with your favourite articles bookmarked
  • Your thesis or dissertation
  • A USB drive full of your own work

The only constraint you may have is space (depending on what your workspace is like), so you might have to be selective about what materials you want to include. 

3. Lay out ground rules for borrowing materials.

As soon as you set up your mini library, there's a chance other people might notice and ask to borrow your books. I did call this a library, which implies sharing, right? But you can decide whether or not you want to lend books out and how you want to keep track of who has borrowed what. I went so far as to create library sign-out cards where people would write their name and the title of the book they were borrowing, as well as the date they borrowed it. Dispense due back slips at your discretion!

Show me your own mini libraries! Tag #valentineacademia on your social media accounts to show me how your libraries turned out!

Click here to download a free tip sheet to create your own mini administration library!

C. Valentine