I participated in the last round of the Library Day in the Life project spearheaded by Bobbi Newman, because my days are very different from those days I worked in university libraries. I decided to participate in Round 4, because this time around, my day was *completely* different than last time.
I still work at a part-time Reference Librarian at a medium-sized branch of a County Public Library System in Central New Jersey. Generally, my schedule is Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, as well as every other Saturday. Since last time, I’ve added hours to my week. I’m now at work for a couple hours on Tuesday, as well as Thursday mornings, while my son is in nursery school. My Tuesday mornings tend to be focused on leading a workshop or program on Web 2.0 technologies or computer-based library services. All other times I am at work, I am working the Reference Desk [or another service point as you'll see].
As last time, it’s not the most exciting day, but it’s real. For those of you sans children, I’ve left out a lot of my day. A good portion of my mornings, afternoons, and late night is doing the housewife/mom thing, but as last time, I do start off my “Day in the Life” at my home:
1:30pm — Nap time for son = work time for me. Realize that I’ve made a mistake with the classes/workshops I’ve scheduled for February and have to do some shifting around. I can’t access work email from home [this can be a blessing, but really tends to be more of a pain], so I use my personal gmail account to contact the Branch Manager and Reference Librarian about the mix up. Basically, I’ve had to move my scheduled ListenNJ workshop to the following week.
2pm — Start planning out my blog entries for the next few months. I’ll be going on maternity leave come late March/early April, so I am submitting my blog posts that are due during my maternity leave in advance for posting approval. I’m part of a ten member blog committee. Eight of us are part of the posting schedule to regularly publish entries to our system-wide blog. So far, I think I’ll do my late March entry about the Green Earth Book Awards nominees/winners in our collection, my April post about the Edgar Awards nominees/winners in our collection, and my late May post about my confession that I read YA books [with recommendations]. I’m still trying to think of one more post, which is due in late June. Awards are great for blog post ideas to highlight a library’s collection — especially if you have to do the post well in advance!
3:00pm — Quick shower before my son wakes up; Once he’s up, “we” start dinner and do some major play time while I get ready for work. [Thomas the Tank Engine and picking out work clothes go surprisingly well together.]
4:40 — Husband home; “pass off” son (the human baton pass-off, as I like to call it); brief husband on items of importance (e.g., dinner instructions, etc.)
4:55pm — Arrive at branch library where I work; I quickly check my work email before I take my shift at the Circulation Desk. Yes, you read that right — the Circ Desk. We are currently short staffed at the Circulation Desk. Since there are two Reference people scheduled on Monday nights, I volunteered to work over at the Circ desk until are staffing levels out again.
5:00pm — I try to work on my blog post for the 30th anniversary of the National Women’s History Project, but it’s too busy with patrons checking out/returning items to really focus on writing. I try to do some last minute preparation for the class I’m teaching the next day [What is with all the Twitter?]. I get my handouts in order, as well as the final touches on my talking points/objectives.
The rest of my shift on the Circ Desk is dedicated to Circ duties: carting books for shelvers, contacting patrons about items they’ve requested that have come in for them, bundling items to be sent the other branches on tomorrow’s “run,” re-shelving new books [new books, fiction AND non-fiction, are high demand items, so we try to re-shelve them as soon as they are returned], collecting fines from patrons, renewing books for patrons, etc. It’s a LOT of face-to-face contact with the community.
I actually enjoy getting this one night to work the Circ Desk. As with ANY job, learning another department’s work flow is such a benefit to know. I feel as if I have a better understanding of the inner workings of our ILS, as well as how facility-wide logistics play into my “normal” job at the Reference Desk. I know that my time at the Circ Desk has helped me become a better informed librarian for our patrons. Interactions I’ve had with patrons at the Circ Desk have allowed me to handle similar situations at the Reference Desk with much more ease and confidence [i.e., procedures for replacing a lost book, settling an account out of being "frozen" due to extensive fines, etc.]
8:30pm — My colleague and I start our closing procedures, which include getting the door counts, counting the daily money intake, and doing some final bundling for tomorrow’s run to other branches.
9:00pm — All staff walk out together.
There it is….again, not the most exciting day, especially when I look/read others’ submissions for “Library Day in the Life, Round 4,” but it’s work that has to be done. And it has to be done to ensure that a branch is smoothly and efficiently working. If you ever have the opportunity to “cross train” at your library, I highly recommend it!