Monday, January 24, 2011

Library Day in the Life - Round 6 - Part 1

I have never formally participated in this project before, but in looking through my blog archives I found this posting from August 2005 about what administrators do, and this one from September which is a very brief snapshot of that interesting day. I did participate in the Library Routes project and posted my route here.

While I live in New Orleans (NOLA), I work in Baton Rouge at the State Library of Louisiana. My drive from NOLA to Baton Rouge is about 80 miles (each way), and as a result I put a lot of miles on my car. I passed a milestone earlier this month.

I serve as a "Library Consultant" as part of Library Development, and as the Head of Reference.

Here is how today went:

Went to bed last night feeling "off." I think that my headache (which woke me up at 2 am) was more about dehydration than about anything else. I got up at about 4:50 (am) well before the time my alarm was set for (5:15). I went through my usual routine which includes looking at my checking account online, reading personal email, the usual morning ablutions, making breakfast (a slice of toast from homemade sourdough bread) for me and Miss R, and making sandwiches (lunch) for the two of us. Miss R actually was up for a few minutes for a nice morning good bye. I am sure she went back to sleep! I was out the door by 6:15. Because I had planned ahead, I did not have to stop for gas this morning -- I got it last night when I ran the holiday decorations back to the storage locker. Because I drive 160 miles each work day, I get gas every other day. I am getting about 27-28 miles per gallon, but with prices going up again, it costs me about $17.00 per day for gas alone. I haven't done the metric conversions, but I noted today that Shell is at $2.95/gallon and Exxon is $2.87. I get gas at the gas station in between them which is $2.83. Now, that is lower than elsewhere in the country. But, I'll note that I see about a half-dozen refineries on my travels every work day, so it is pumped out of the ground here, and made into gasoline here, also.

The drive was almost uneventful. My route takes me on the Interstate (I-10) past the airport. I was thinking this morning about my first post-Katrina trip. Driving from the airport, the access road dumps cars going towards New Orleans on to the highway. I was there for the American Library Association Conference in June 2006, and was one of the Board which had to decide whether we would hold the conference there. That trip, I remember seeing some less devastation than I had expected, but there were many businesses which were clearly not in operation, and many of the homes had roofs covered in blue tarps. I think the latter is probably the clearest memory of that whole stay. This summer, ALA returns. It will be interesting to actually live in the host city for a big conference which I am planning to attend.

When I leave New Orleans each morning, it is before sunrise (at this time of year), the traffic in my direction is pretty light. However, by the time I get to Baton Rouge, not only has the sun risen, but I am in the midst of the daily heavy traffic flow through the city towards the university and downtown. Today was no exception. Traffic was stop and go from Essen Lane onwards. Why? Well someone had a bad day...after Acadian Thruway, there was an accident where a smaller car had rear-ended a pick-up truck. After that point traffic cleared, and I was at work, on time, for my 7:45 opening of the desk to be ready for the public at 8 am.

It has been a relatively quiet day for me. Not much activity at the desk. After my first shift at the first floor desk, I took a walk around the green space being created across the street from the library. Every day, at least once, I try to get outside the building and walk around. First of all it gets me away from work. Second, it gets me to do some (very moderate) exercise. Third, I get to breathe some fresh air, and fourth, during some of the year, it lets me warm up.

While eating lunch, I listened to the archived version of a web cast by Toby Greenwalt called "Designing Customized Library Services: Book-a-Librarian and BookMatch." It was a good session, and since I have been asked to develop a "book a librarian" kind of service for my library, I will probably go back to it again.

I then returned for a second, short stint at the first floor desk. Although, we recently integrated our books on MP3 into our spoke word audio collection (along with the comedy "albums/collections"). A patron came up and asked about them, and I said that they were integrated. He looked disappointed, and I called the head of technical services to see if we could search for them in the catalog. The format information is there, just not search-able, yet. She quickly sent me spreadsheet listing them (which made the patron very happy), now we are working out how we can add that as a search in the catalog.

The rest of the afternoon was on the third floor (where the circulation collection 000-899 are located. (900s and biographies -- for now -- are on the fourth floor.) Here I was able to spend some time catching up on professional weeding, talking with the stacks manager about some shifting and weeding projects, and working on the files I need to send so that we can begin data collection for the federal report.

It was raining by the end of the day. That meant that traffic started off very slow, however after a few miles it picked up, and was pretty steady all the way into New Orleans. That's where it got bad. Just before the I-10/610 split, there was a spin out into the median wall. That slowed folks down. Then, as I continued on I-10, just before my exit, another spin out into the median (thank goodness I was getting off the highway!). The rest of the trip was uneventful. About an hour and 45 minutes home, home just after 6 pm.

On my way in, I finished listening to My life as a fake by Peter Carey, read by Susan Lyons, and then I started Stonehenge: [a novel of 2000 BC] by Bernard Cornwell, read by Sean Barrett.

So, this is supposed to be A Day in the Life but runs for a week. This has been my day...on Friday, I'll post any highlights between now and then.

For now, the rain is pouring down, and I hope that does not affect tomorrow's commute. As you can tell, commuting is a big part of my life!


  1. Hi Michael -

    Saw this post on my ego feed and thought I'd say hi. I hope the webcast proves useful as you develop your own book-a-librarian service. As I (think I) remember mentioning in the presentation, it's almost as useful as a staff training mechanism as it is a service for your patrons.

    If you have any questions about setting things up, don't hesitate to get in touch.


  2. Thanks was quite useful. I also appreciate the offer of help.