Tag Archives: work

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.  : )

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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.

a/s/l?

a/s/l?, originally uploaded by jezmynne.

We have a publication called Graffiti in our library, which we hang in the bathrooms and in elevators. It’s not often that users add their own graffiti to our blurbs about services and events. This one, advertising our chat reference, cracked me up.

Smashy Smashy

This is one of the many reasons why I love being the Harvey Mudd College librarian.  No college will ever be as cool as HMC!

The Short:
WHAT: Smashy Smashy!
WHEN: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
WHAT TO BRING: Flowers, fruit, and candy
COST: FREE!

The Long:
It’s that time of year again, when love is in the air, a song is in your heart, and a sledgehammer is in your hands.
Yep, it’s Valentines Day, which means its time for Smashy Smashy!

For those of you unfamiliar with the tradition of Smashy Smashy, every Valentines Day the chem club brings out a bunch of liquid nitrogen, a sledgehammer, and lets you dip things into the liquid nitrogen and then smash them.  Our only requirement is that you help us clean up some of what you smash.  Also if you can’t seem to find anything to smash, we will have a couple of things laying around for you to destroy.

The destruction starts at lunch this Saturday.

Now THAT’S a way to spend Valentines Day!!!!

A Day in the Life 1/30/09

Shew!  This day is done!  For a Friday, it was not bad.

I started the day by participating in the interview for our candidate for our Research and Development position.  They did a nice presentation, focusing on wide reaching technologies and tools for service, location, communication, and collaboration, instead of a summary of tools.  I enjoyed the theoretical approach.

Then, off to a meeting.  I’m chairing the Student Conversations group, and we needed to update and outline future work.  Like many libraries, we are in massive flux, reorganizing departments and units, and raising money for a new building.   Like many organizations, we want input on what our users think and want from us as we plan our change.  It’s a quick meeting, and then we’re off to the next event.

I head off to the second part of the R&D interview, the small group questions specific to instruction and reference.  It’s a pleasant gathering and the candidate does well.  We dont delve too far off topic too many times, which is good.

After that, I’ve got 20 minutes till I’m on the desk, and I’m STARVING.  I drop my bag at the desk, run across the street to the cafe on the graduate school campus, and look at the dismal offerings that weren’t snatched up by the lunch rush.  I’m left with an egg sandwich and chips… I dont have time to order anything from the grill, unfortunately, because this place makes a mean burger.  Ah, well… I settle on my egg sandwich (which turned out to be quite disappointing; onions and red peppers have no business in egg salad, btw), stuffing half of it in my maw while bolting back across the street.  I loiter outside the door in the sun, stuffing my face, making it to the desk with only moments to spare.

The desk is typically busy, and pass the two hours very quickly.  I should mention that at my library we have no reference desk; when I’m there my office door is open, and when I am not there, students and staff find me on IM or by phone.  So when I work the desk, I’m on the main library desk… and that’s always a challenge. Today, I help some young Japanese girls locate some articles for a paper on elementary education.  The language barrier is nearly impossible to work around, until I ask them to write out the keywords they’re thinking about.  Once I figure out what they want, I find them a few things, and send them a detailed email linking to ERIC and Google Uncle Sam, with some suggestions on keyword searching.  I also try to help a senior working on her thesis who returned “that book” that had all the crucial information on a particular painting… and she cant remember what the title of it was… we look and look and look for information on this painting, but I Fail at this sort of thing, so after 40 minutes I refer her to the Art librarian.  In between, I get some easy questions and a lot of circulation action.

Finally, I bolt from the desk and go hide out in my BFF’s office.  She’s giving me a lift since I am car free, and while she works I hammer out the last bits of my presentation for UIUC’s Science Refernce class next week.  Of course I’m using LOL cats.  : )

So now I’m home… and reflecting back on the week.  It’s been busy, but good, and although I’m looking forward to my down time this weekend, I know next week is going to be just as awesome.  : )

A Day in the Life 1/30/09

Heh.  So on Wednesday it felt almost like Friday because I had no meetings, no classes, no scheduled obligations for Thursday.  I was looking forward to getting my To Do list nearly killed… Did that happen?  No.  This image best typlifies how my life’s been lately.

busy1

Yesterday I got to the library, and ended up helping a coworker fix his printing.  For those of you who know me, you know that, for whatever reason, printing is the hardest thing I do every day.  Yea, I dont get it, either.  Anyways, it’s contagious and was even worse for my friend. Problem solved, then off to a relaxing picnic lunch with my BFF.

While I was at lunch, our director put out a call for 30 mins of coverage on the main service desk.  I agreed, and headed over there for the next two hours, because they were slammed!  I’m not even sure if I made all the ticks on our ref stats sheets, since it was one afer an other after another  times a bazillion.

I escape in a moment of calm, and manage to address my inbox before leaving for the day, and at least hash out the outline and rough points for next week’s UIUC guest lecture at Linda Smith’s Science Reference class.  I need to turn in my ppt and links by Monday, so today I need to get crackin if I dont want to work on that over the weekend.

When I got home, I checked in with my chemists for a few minutes, then turned everything off and made a doily.  Oh, and if you havent heard from me lately… check that image above.  : )