Tag Archives: librarians

A Day in the Life Round 5, #2

Tuesday, July 27th

Royce Kitts is right.  He’s a director of a Kansas public library, and he commented that when one works in a public library, you begin in one place, but you end up in an entirely different place at the end of the day.  Today, I had a pretty clear agenda – I needed to finish the edits and modifications to my chapter for the Embedded Librarianship book, finish the budget sheets for the board, and work on setting up our new website.  I got one thing done… the spreadsheets for the board.

First thing this morning, I got in and finalized the agreement with my chosen concrete guy for the necessary repairs, arranged the dates he’d do the work, and he said he’d get my contract faxed over first thing tomorrow morning.  I then settled down to try to sort out setting up the new website.  See, our old one is some hosted Drupal nonsense supplied by the state (I think) that I find very difficult to manage.  I would expect I could do some things, like make the blog the landing page, but I cant.  I also cant get it to make a Meebo widget happen no matter what I try.  As a result of my frustration, I decided to pay for hosting and have Blake Carver over at LISHost house our site.  I still need to register the domain and get things set up, and then I have the fun of putting our content together.  But… A lovely couple paid me a visit and want to donate a thirty year old Brassia bush to the library that’s gotten too big for their living room.  I chat with them and then hand off the address and pick up/delivery logistics to Dale to handle.

Next it’s time to wrap up the budget information for the board.  Not only am I in the middle of setting the basic budget for 2011, but I also need to balance the accounts and books for the month of July.  I work with my admin assistant and we get that all buttoned up.  I call a board member to come by and pick up the sheets for the board’s executive meeting and then decide to settle in and get this website up and running.  But… When Jason, my board member, comes in, he notices the trash hasnt gone out.  He’s a real trooper and he takes out the trash around the building and the public restrooms.  I make a note and leave it for my janitor.

I then head back to my office, but before I get there, an issue has come up about fines.  We use Horizon, and it does this odd thing when you waive fines, being that you have to specifically choose the item to which you are applying collected fine money.  Someone collected fine money but did not indicate the item to which the money applied, and it made a bit of a mess.  Two senior staffers and I work to sort it out, which reminds me, I need to plan Thursday’s senior staff meeting and get that agenda out.  I want to meet with the senior staff every week, and with all staff every month.  I also want to create a policy and procedures manual for the service desk so we’re all on the same page.

So with all that done, it’s past time to go home, so I jot down this post and collect my Lila.  She spent the afternoon here, and I had her putting holiday stickers on the children’s books.  : )

Library Day In The Life Round 5, #1

Round Five, Day One

And so begins Round Five, Day One, of  A Day in the Life of a Library.  This initiative began a few years ago by Librarian Bobbi Newman and it chronicles the daily activities of librarians in all types of librarianship, from public libraries to academic libraries to special libraries.

So, last round of A Day In The Life, I was an academic science librarian at the Claremont Colleges, in Claremont, California.  The last year at Claremont I was on the Research and Development team, but prior to that, I was the librarian at Sprague Science Library on Harvey Mudd College’s campus.  I adored my library, and I adored my community, but unfortunately my library was closed due to economic and real estate issues in the Summer of 2009.  It was a devastating blow to me, as my library drove my professional existence.  After another year in Claremont, I decided I needed to get as far away from California as possible, and I gambled it all and moved to Pocatello, Idaho.  A few months after making that fateful decision, I landed a job as the Director of the Portneuf District Library.

The Portneuf District Library is quite a change from what I’m used to… it’s a public library and I was previously an academic science librarian.  But… librarianship is about serving your community of users, and in that regard, the logistics are the same, and only the materials served are different.  I have a lot on my To Do list for this library, including a new website, forays into social networking, and increasing programming and the fun stuff I love to bring to my library and my community.

And so begins my next adventure into Librarianship.  : )

Monday, July 26th

I get into the library at 8:30 this morning, wanting an early start as I want to leave early this afternoon.  I clear out weekend email and prepare for the work day.  I have two primary tasks that must be done today – I have to bid out a concrete job and I have to finalize the draft of the 2011 budget for my board as well as prepare the standard paperwork for our meeting on Thursday.

The concrete job is really the most important.  In front of our main entrance the concrete is reducing to rubble and is a dangerous spot, just begging for an accident.  I arranged last week to talk to four concrete guys and get four bids.  One guy doesnt show up, and of the other three, Peter of Wiegman Concrete wins the job.  He is extremely professional in his appearance and demeanor, and, having 8 years experience as an engineering librarian at one of the finest engineering institutions in the country, I definitely sensed the young man knew his business.  I’m happy to know that I can choose the best solution for my library without lots of red tape to wade through.  Yes, this is plenty different from my life as an academic librarian, forever waiting on someone else to approve the decisions I want to make!

As I finish drafting up the information on the concrete job for my board, I get to experience my first problem patron in my new library.  The patron consumes the library’s time for the next two hours causing disturbances and making the library uncomfortable for the staff and surrounding users.  The other users are patient with the situation as they see the library staff working with her to get her comfortable editing her website and situated to do what she needs to do.  During the process, we discover that she does not have a library account although she is a regular visitor.  I document the situation and move on with my day.  This situation leads me to think hard about some sort of authentication software for our computers.

Other than that, the rest of the day had a few meetings with staff members and number crunching for the budget and the coming board meeting.  I have some great staff here!  Chris is preparing a gaming program, which we’ll do two nights a month.  He’ll do video games one night and board games and Magic the other.  He’s putting together a budget and proposal for me, and we only needed to talk about getting numbers for board games and assessment criteria.  I also talk to Karri, an MLS student, about bringing ideas and projects from her classes into the library, and about the two of us collaborating on writing and presenting projects.

So far, the new job is great!  I’m enjoying my library and getting to know my new community of users. I’m finding it delightful that I’m handling fun reading books instead of the Lecture Notes in Mathematics (no offense, my Math friends!) and putting together fun activities.  Also on my agenda – a weekly crochet group.  : )

A Day in the Life. Just One.

Last time we did the Day in the Life I had a library, and I don’t anymore.  It’s amazing to me how much the loss of my library affected my attitude towards my job and this profession.  These days, i don’t think libraries are taken seriously.  We are used when we are needed, and when we are not needed, we are stuffed aside, hidden in a closet, shut out.  We don’t have the voice in our communities our users do, our users don’t listen when they don’t need us, and we don’t have the ear to gain the tools we need to preserve our spaces, our initiatives, our livelihoods.  I see the incredible change libraries face, and I cannot help but feel the serious loss of respect, of place, in learning that libraries are suffering.  Now, our librarians must struggle to reach out for the attention of our users.  Now, our spaces hold less books, less browsing, and more ‘other stuff.’  Change is inevitable, it will happen, but I feel that learning environments are quickly overlooking the value of the library and the knowledge managers who work so hard to steward the information contained therein.

Today I sat in a small office I share with an employee of Harvey Mudd College.  Last year, my library stood on this campus.  This year, my library is gone, and empty shell of a building still waiting for the developments and blueprints, furniture and initiatives.  HMC is very kind to me; they did not have to offer me a place to sit, but they did so as some understand the loss the library means to the users.  I feel it keenly, as well.  I answer less questions.  I teach less classes.  I see less people. Gone is the serendipity of discovery as a faculty or a student wanders through the library and encounters me and asks about a topic or trend.  Now, I am hidden away and harder to find.  Yes, I could work harder to re-create what I *had* in the library, and *create* a more obvious place to be, but I am tired.  I’ve tried for seven long years and lost what mattered most to me in my professional life anyway.  I don’t think I have much more I can give.

So now I am no longer the Sprague Science Librarian, but instead a numbered drone hiding away on the Research and Development team.  I have the ear of the innovators in the library, and that is nice, but it is not the same.  The flavor, the joy, is gone.  My days are empty exploration of people’s twitter streams and new tricks and tools via the feeds dumped into my email.  It’s so hollow, though, and void of depth and substance.  It’s just the shiny glitz, not the deep blue sea of yesteryear. Occasionally I visit my books, my precious bookies I once cared for, crammed away in the compact shelving on the first floor.  Their saving grace is that they share the floor with the cafe.  I’m glad for them, and I hope the young science learners come for the coffee and muffins, and run their fingers along the spines of the books, perhaps selecting one or two to take away with them.

So I think this will conclude my “Day in the Life” sharing; I’m losing interest, lost and listless, and I shall stand aside to let others shine.

ALA Pirates

DSC_0138Got this in my email the other day.

Um… Yea. Golly, I’m not sure where to start with this one. Christina and I were meandering thru the exhibit hall, and were offered/cornered for this lovely photo op. So we smiled.

Mr Pirate looks to be suffering of scurvey.  Ms Pirate looks like she’s about to go vampire on me.  I’m not sure which is more shocking – the faces of those pirates, or the fact that I’ve now been photographed with the writings of L Ron Hubbard.

I honestly had NO idea those were the faces they were making. I thought we were taking a nice picture.