Friday, July 29, 2011

Library Day in the Life Project - Round 7

Bobbie Newman has been diligently convincing library bloggers to participate in the Library Day in the Life Project, semi-annually, where we each talk about what it is really like to be a working librarian. This is Round 7. Over 200 librarians are participating this time! What a resource.

This is my second time participating. Last time there were two posts. The first covered Monday, and then there was a summary post for the rest of the week.

Post-ALA, it has rained a fair amount. The weekend was quite rainy. Monday was, well Monday. One of the reference staff is out for some surgery this week, and that went well for her. That also means that the remaining three of us are spending more time than usual, staffing the two public service desks. One nice aspect of Monday was that, since my wife was off of work, she drove to Baton Rouge, and we got to have lunch together! Doesn't happen very often any more. Much of the rest of the day was either on the desk, or dealing with email.

Tuesday, I was motivated to get moving (for some reason), and it was "gas day" for me. [Since I drive 80 miles, each way, every day, I get gasoline in the car every other work day, or about every 320 miles or so. What a racket.] In addition to being on the desk, today's activities included my first meeting as the Volunteer Coordinator for the book festival held at the end of October. I learned even more about what is expected, and have now started with a number of new tasks. The afternoon was pretty quiet, with a fair amount of desk time.

Wednesday dawned. This was the first of three days in a row (two of them open to the public), when there are only two of us in to staff the two desks. That means that except for lunch and the occasional "comfort break," we are both on the desk all the time we are at work. It was pretty slow for me in the morning, and I was able to catch up on assorted professional reading. The highlight of the day was an interesting reference question. The patron was looking for information on “nazzorites.” One of the things we started doing a while ago was keeping a wiki with a number of things including interesting reference questions. [More on this below.] I look at it as a way to provide the library administration with some concrete, real-life examples of the service we provide. Thank goodness, the drive home was very uneventful, and I had a chance to chat with my eldest son on his birthday.

Thursday was day 2 of the long reference days. Had a quick hour on the desk, then a database/discovery tool demo which ran more than 30 minutes longer then I expected. More desk time, lunch, desk, then a meeting with other staff here. Whew! In the mail were several "prisoner letters." These are reference questions which we receive by mail from the inmates of several prisons of the state. We try to answer them as best we can, knowing that they do not have any internet access. The questions about Louisiana, we can send to that section of the library, and the legal questions we forward to the state's Supreme Court Law Library. We do track the "prisoner letters" on the internal Wiki. I started doing that just to get an idea of where the questions were coming from. I'll also note that we have some "regular" correspondents who make frequent requests.

Since July 1, the library building is not open to the public on Fridays. Staff still reports to work, and for my department, it means that we can actually have a departmental meeting (which we did last week, this week there are only two of us here.) It is also officially a casual dress day. My day started with a blood draw (just routine stuff). Then, it seems that no matter how hard I try, the day gets chopped up. Some of my accomplishments today include:
  • Getting a second Center for the Book staff member set up on Facebook for tagging photos (so we can publish the work site page)
  • Creating an email reminder on entering statistics, and getting the language approved
  • Typing up notes from Thursday's meeting for my staff and a fellow department head the latter of whom was called away
  • Reading many, many emails
  • Working on an (e)mail merge for libraries who are missing data
  • Sent that email (with only one strange error)
  • Entered data from the 5 libraries which responded immediately
  • Spent time in the stacks with our gun books to answer questions from two different parish libraries
  • Almost cleared off my desk
  • Sent an overdue email to participants in the Library Support Staff Certification class from this spring.
Whew! What a day. I am glad that the week is over!

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