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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Library Day in the Life

On Wednesdays I work the afternoon/evening shift, so I spent the morning sleeping in, doing the laundry, and watching my sister ice a cake she volunteered for the "Chocolate Day" my colleagues and I had planned for today. My bus brought me to work at 12:45 and I sat and watched Top Gear with two colleagues on their lunch break while everyone else drifted in and "OMG"d at my sister's truly awesome cake.

At 1pm I was on the desk shift as the normal person rostered for that hour was on sick leave. (A propos of which, today's A Softer World strip provides a brilliant rebuttal to a certain proposed employment law change in New Zealand. I like sick leave, it means that my colleagues are less likely to come and infect me.) It was semi-steady circulation and basic enquiries, and a query about finding sources for a small literature review on pneumatic conveyers, but I also had time to do some background searches on the PhD topic of a new student in my subject area, and to quickly check my email.

Said student came at 2pm - I spent the next 50 minutes talking with her about where she's at so far (I didn't spend as much time on this part as I'd like - I'm still learning how to have this sort of conversation without sounding like the Spanish Inquisition) and what resources we have available (interlibrary loans are always high on the interest list but of course we also talked databases etc) and then I gave her a tour of the building. Before we parted I had the wit to ask if I can check in with her in a month or two - so now I can do so without feeling like I'm nagging.

Though what feels like nagging is frequently good - among my emails was one from a lecturer about setting up a time for a session with one of his classes that I'd been asking him about. I scheduled that in.

At 3:30 (we have scheduled breaks and lunch hours; I'm always a bit shocked to see overseas folk talking about not finding time for lunch) I went to enjoy a slice of my sister's awesome cake.

Back at my desk I scanned Twitter and Friendfeed and Google Reader for awesome news stuff. I compiled a bunch of that for the draft of the library section of a department's weekly newsletter; a bunch more will go in my next "Links of interest" post on the internal library blog. My colleague in the same office talked about an article she'd just been reading about the emotional dissonance between how information literacy instructors have to act in the classroom and the reactions we get from students. I'm describing it badly, I need to read it myself.

From colleagues I answered a phone query re opinions on our multisearch, and an email query about duplicate copies of something in storage. There were two wrong numbers at some point, and two misdirected emails. I tidied some stuff up, and also replied to another lecturer about some other classes in a couple of weeks (there'll 6-8 sessions) and about the associated library assignment.

From 5-9 it was just two of us staffing the branch. So at 6pm I had another desk shift and it wasn't much quieter than 1pm - lots of people borrowing 3-hour loans, someone wanting instruction on using the mopier's scan-to-email function, someone asking about an ebook that's mysteriously disappeared from the content provider's database (I sent an email to our e-resources expert).

I stayed on a bit longer while my colleague shelved books and collected the books requested by users in our branch and others. 7:20 I had my dinner break; 8pm my final shift and still no quieter though I caught a bit of time to update our electronic noticeboard (tomorrow's weather forecast, partly in Māori in honour of Te Wiki o Te Reo) and to start writing this post.

8:45 we dinged the bell to warn students it's nearly time to leave, and I walked around closing windows and picking up discarded student magazines and soft drink cans as subtle reinforcement that the day's over. There was only one group I had to tell verbally that we were about to close. Doors locked at 9pm; but I hung around inside for about 15 minutes waiting for the interwebs to inform me that my bus was about to arrive; finished this post on the bus and hit 'publish' from home.