Library Day in the Life: Round 8, Day 2Posted: January 31, 2012
Today was a busy day, but I left the office with a much greater sense of accomplishment than yesterday.
The day started much as they normally do, with a bowl of cereal at my desk. Bad habit? Maybe, but it works for me. I’m not naturally a morning person, so scanning my e-mail and to-do list over a quick breakfast helps to get my bearings. I have tried the productivity tip of coming in and working on a project first thing in the morning before turning on e-mail, and it certainly does have its merits. Unfortunately, in such a customer-service driven job, I need Outlook to accomplish a large portion of my to-do list each day. I don’t want to be a slave to my Inbox, but it’s tough to find a balance when so much data resides within the e-mail program.
Anyhow, this morning I did a pretty good job of jumping into a project, albeit one that was triggered by an e-mail from a coworker requesting information to assist someone starting a tutoring program. The customer wanted to know whether we had resources on training volunteers to work with youth. As it turns out, there really aren’t many books on that specific topic, at least not that we currently own. I recommended that he contact similar programs to see if they’d share their training materials, and pointed out a few examples I found in a quick Google search. I also discovered a cool resource from the Corporation for National and Community Service, specifically focused on supporting tutoring programs. Someday, I’d love to have a place to post these kinds of finds on our website or use them to spice up our book/DVD heavy bibliographies, but today I’m just hoping it will help this individual! I also did a quick check on Amazon to see if there were any books we should purchase on this topic, but didn’t find anything too promising. Made a mental note to add this to the list of future collection development possibilities.
I then headed downstairs to my satellite desk in the library, since I hadn’t been able to get down there since last Thursday, and our intern would be down there again this afternoon. There, I checked in a mail tub full of materials that had come in on Friday and Monday. A couple of them were flagged for cataloging issues, so I sent them over to my colleague who takes care of those details. A couple more fulfilled hold requests, so I let the status go to “held,” printed out the slips, and set them aside for tomorrow’s mail. The reason we delay the shipment is so that the system-generated hold notice will trigger overnight, saving us from writing separate e-mails to every patron and allowing them a brief window to update any mailing information. It’s not a perfect system, but it works well most of the time.
I went through our request manager with fine-toothed comb to pull together all of the other materials that need to be shipped tomorrow. I had a pretty tall pile by the end of it, which I guess is what happens when I’m not in the library for a couple days! I also e-mailed a few people regarding old requests for which the books had only recently become available. I hate to just blindly send an item if the request is more than a couple months old, because people change jobs so often in the youth work field. I heard back from most everyone, so was able to cancel or fulfill the holds as appropriate. This stuff took pretty much the whole morning, as our weeding/shifting project is forcing me to re-learn the locations of our materials. Previously, I had a good general idea of which call numbers were in which aisles, and even the exact location of certain items. The current state of flux is cramping my style!
When our intern arrived at 1pm, I gathered up my stuff, and went back upstairs for lunch. My boring frozen meal and apple were supplemented today by a delivery of Girl Scout Cookies. I went for Samoas and Tagalongs this year. Mmm…
After lunch, I dealt with a few e-mails and messages related to my grant program. Then, I packed up the items I had set to “held” yesterday, so they could go out in today’s mail. I broke a nail doing this, which just adds to the reasons why I can never have a side hustle as a hand model. Every day I seem to get a new scrape or paper cut. Are other librarians so rough on their hands?
I also checked in several journals, printed the routing lists, and distributed them to staff inboxes. Today, the headlines grabbed my attention more than usual, so I spent a few minutes reading stories in Education Week about handwriting, early graduation from high school, and education reform in Indianapolis. I also read the Indianapolis Business Journal‘s cover story, “Brand Indy,” because I’m really curious about what the Super Bowl hoopla will do for our reputation.
Lastly, it was time for another overdue detective shift. I was thrilled to get a few people on the phone that I’ve been chasing for months. Turns out one of them had given us the wrong e-mail address. The other, who I’ve been pestering since July with no response, said, “I bet you’re going to kill me about these library books.” I assured her I did not intend to resort to violence, but would very much appreciate it if she could return the items so other people could access them. She promised to put them in the mail today, and that I would never have to call her again. Let’s hope that’s true.
Phew! A busy and fairly productive day. See you tomorrow!