Library Day in the Life: Round 7, Day 1

I’ve been a longtime follower of the Library Day in the Life project, but this is my first time officially participating. Now that I have this fledgling blog, I figured it’s time to give it a shot.

My job title is Program Manager – Library & Grants, with a lingering subtitle of Training & Conference Registrar. So, you’ll quickly notice that I do not spend my entire work day or work week in a library. However, the non-library parts of my job are heavily focused on customer service and technology, which I like to think are highly transferable skills.

Briefly, the three hats I wear include:

  1. Managing a grant program that provides professional development funds to youth workers in Indiana. We operate on a monthly cycle, so this keeps me busier in certain weeks more than others.
  2. Coordinating registration for our regional trainings, monthly webinars, and annual conference. I maintain two separate databases, provide troubleshooting for customers, and facilitate reporting for the events.
  3. Facilitating the operations of our library, in collaboration with our director of library services. I am currently focused primarily on circulation and patron services, with some systems work, reference, and collection development activities thrown in as time allows.

Here’s how today went down…

8:15-9:00 am

Essential office supplies.

For better or worse, I tend to ease into the mornings, especially after a four-day weekend. I started this day by filling up the M&M dispenser and Jelly Belly jar in my office. Once the sugar was in place, I fired up the computer and did a preliminary sort through all the e-mails that came in while I was out on Friday and Monday.

9:00-10:30 am

We are hosting a webinar on social media and fundraising tomorrow, and my must-do task for today was to send out the instructions so participants know how to access it! But first, I had to deal with all the registrations that came in since last week.

We use an association management software to keep track of our (non-library) customers and their activities, so we use their registration portal to reduce the need for duplicate data entry. While this is useful in many ways, it also means that I spend a fair amount of time in the “clearinghouse,” attempting to match people with their correct organization. We have made great strides toward keeping our customer data clean and consistent, and in order to keep it that way, I often rely on online sleuthing to make sure we don’t end up with duplicate records.

Once all the records were cleared, I pulled the final list of attendees and sent them the instructions for accessing the webinar tomorrow. Gotta love mail merge.

10:30- noon

I spent the rest of the morning mostly replying to e-mails and sorting through stuff that had been piled on my desk while I was out. Highlights include:

  • Thanking people who wrote to say they’ll be returning their long overdue books! Maybe my detective work is paying off, after all.
  • Coordinating who will send 40 copies of the “50 Hot Jobs” poster to someone who saw a colleague at an event last week. No idea why that e-mail landed in my box, but my helpfulness apparently knows no bounds.
  • Printing score sheets one of my volunteer grant reviewers had e-mailed me. I have been trying to avoid using business-reply envelopes because the US Mail can’t reliably keep up with our tight turnaround.
  • Trying to track down an award application written in 2007. A customer was using it as a writing sample in her portfolio and her copy was destroyed in a flood. We should still have this stuff in off-site storage, so it’s a matter of finding the right box. This task is far from routine, but I’m pursuing it because I would appreciate the effort if I were in her shoes.

12:00-1:00 pm

Lunchtime. Took a peek at Twitter/Facebook to see what’s going on in the world. Ate some leftovers in our office kitchen while completing the crossword puzzle and cryptoquip in the Indianapolis Star.

1:00-3:00 pm

I loaded up a cart with returned books that appeared in my office and headed downstairs to our library. I checked in said books and took a look at our request manager to see if I could fulfill any holds. There were actually several new requests, so I gathered the items together and flipped their statuses to “held.” This allows patrons to get a notification e-mail overnight, which tells them that their items will be shipping soon! I don’t necessarily like delaying the shipments by a day to accommodate this message, but I do like not having to craft individualized e-mails for each request filled.

Our physical library space is still in a bit of transition after some renovation, so I’m still getting used to the workflow in the new configuration. One of today’s tasks was getting the new computer in the patron workstation (a.k.a. my second office) to print to the nearest printer. I also replaced my staff directory and other assorted visual aides around the workspace.

3:00-3:45 pm

I listened to a webinar on knowledge management in nonprofit organizations. I have become fascinated with the concept ever since last summer when I attended the 2010 SLA Conference. I was simultaneously taking a class on organizing and representing knowledge and information, and kept coming around to how these concepts could really help me at work! Unfortunately, I have had too many competing responsibilities and too few hours in the day to implement anything thus far. For now, I just keep reading and learning when I can!

3:45-5:30 pm

I switched back to my registrar hat for the rest of the day. We have a training series coming up in August, so I needed to process a few offline registration forms as well as update the confirmation e-mails I need to manually send to those registrants. I confirmed a detail with a colleague, then adjusted the dates and location information in my mail-merge template. Have I mentioned yet how much I love mail merge?

I also chatted with a couple of people who missed the deadline for tomorrow’s webinar. I got them in the system and ready to go with the instructions.

Somehow, everything always comes back to customer service…

How was your day?

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One Comment on “Library Day in the Life: Round 7, Day 1”

  1. […] I’ve mentioned before, I really only spend about 40% of my full-time job working in a library. The rest of the time, […]


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