A Day in the Life of a Library: Day 2
Today I am starting to blog about what it’s like to be a librarian. I am participating in this collaborative effort along with a few hundered other librarians around the world. You can read about the project a the Day in the Life of a Library wiki. Congratulations to Bobbi Newman for this wonderful idea!
(I was supposed to blog yesterday but I got sick and had to go home; but I did get into work for long enough to complete my weekly video. As Information Technology Librarian at the Allen County Public Library, I have taken on the task of creating a weekly video in which I talk about what’s happening at the library this week. I shot the video last Friday, but yesterday (Monday) I edited it using Windows Movie Maker and added it to YouTube. Then our webmaster created a slide from a still I sent her and put it up on our homepage. We do this every Monday. For more information about my videos, please see the presentation I gave at the American Library Association Annual Conference, posted on my blog July 23, 2009.)
This has been my day so far:
7:30 am – 10:00 am: Checked in dropbox materials at our busiest library, the Dupont Branch. When the library closes, patrons still are able to return their materials; so we have a dropbox which items can be put into. Books, CDs, DVDs, etc. all go into the building and land on the floor where they sit all night until someone checks them in the next morning. We backdate the checkin to the day before because we can’t tell if patrons have returned them before midnight or after, and we want to give patrons the benefit of the doubt when they return materials… we don’t want a patron to be fined for a book they returned on the correct date. We also shelve many of them, check in materials coming back from other branches, and check in items that have been placed on hold by patrons. We check in hundreds of items every morning before we open the library. On Monday the Dupont Branch staff checked in 16,412 items.
10:00am – noon: Worked the reference desk. Here are some of the types of interactions I had:
- “Where can I go to get a TB test?” (Answer: the Health Department no longer offers this service, but I found on their website that they have a list of clinics where one can go for the test, plus cost of the test at each location.)
- “I am going to Chile soon. What books do you have?” (Answer: I found in our branch a Rough Guide travel guide, a travelogue by Isabelle Allende, and an educational DVD to place on hold. Score!)
- I helped (not really) a patron who got weird errors when trying to log into Yahoo! and use Farm Town on Facebook. The patron who used the workstation after him didn’t have any problems, so I think it was some weird session problem.
- I gave out lots of prizes to kids finishing the kids’ and teens’ summer reading programs, which are ending this week.
- I instructed at least four patrons about how to print out items from their workstations. We charge for printing and we will be training people for a long time. Interestingly, two of the people were Spanish-speaking adults who had their children interpreting for them. I had to wait for one of the kids though, because his little brother made the universal sign for “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW”. I asked one of the men directly if he understood English, and he said that he did. So I could ask him if he had any more printing to do, and we were able to determine his next step from there even though I do not speak Spanish and he did not speak much English.
- I showed one of the patrons how to add Spanish language characters to her document in Word.
- I found information for a patron about how to fix his car and printed it out for him, using Auto Repair Reference Center. This database is incredible and we didn’t have to order a book for the patron; he didn’t have to wait for one to arrive and he could fix his car today! He asked if he could access it at home and I answered that it is a product which must be accessed inside the library.
- I looked up a lot of other titles and placed them on hold for other patrons. One of them was not in our library collection, but I was able to request it from another system using our interlibrary loan service. This service, like almost every other service we offer, is free.
- Printed out a tax form for a gentleman. He remarked that he looked for a half-hour and couldn’t find it, yet I found it in about a minute. “But I do this every day!” was my reply.
12:00-1:15: Traveled back to my office at our data center to attend our summer luncheon.
1:15-2:30: Checking e-mail in my office, following up on requests for help, and writing this post.
2:30-3:00: Filled out paperwork so I can be paid for my upcoming presentation at the Rangeview Library District’s TechDay 2009, to be held October 12, 2009. David Lee King will also be there!
3:00-3:30: Signed up for account to participate in the first Handheld Librarian Online Conference, to be held this Thursday. This conference will focus on mobile library services. I’m very interested in this topic and would like to know more. This is also an area that ILS (integrated library systems) developers have not really addressed in their products. Also performed a technical check to make sure my laptop would connect to the meeting correctly.
3:30-4:00: Downloaded IE 8, because our new Twitter keeps telling me I should. I created a new ACPL account on Twitter last week, and I tweet from Internet Explorer when sending out ACPL updates.