A Day in the Life of a Medical Librarian

by Elizabeth on August 3, 2010 · 0 comments

in Adventures, librarianship

Last Monday was round 5 of Library Day in the Life, which is an opportunity for librarians around the world to share what they do on a daily basis.  Obviously, I’m a bit late to the party, but I did tweet about my day last Monday using the hashtag #libday5.  So if you follow LibrarianLizy on Twitter, this may be a repeat performance for you.
I think that Library Day in the Life is super interesting and as Lauren suggested, a great way for students to find out what a librarian really does all day.  There aren’t that many solo hospital librarians out there (I am one of three in my city) so I thought that some of you might find it interesting to see what I actually do all day.  For those of you who don’t care, well, just come back tomorrow when I have a recipe to share. 
8:00 (or there abouts): arrive at my desk, turn on the computer, see if I have any new messages (I don’t) and open my office window.  
8:10-9:00: check both email accounts, respond to necessary emails, check FaceBook and Twitter on my phone, write and link up Menu Plan Monday, greet the various doctors who walk past my window, and begin an email exchange with my counterpart at our sister hospital. 
9:00: Weed through my Google Reader, collect recipes from other peoples’ MPM posts, play around online.  
9:15: A resident comes in to ask about a CD-ROM program which turns into an actual issue because the program no longer works.  I hunt around looking for a new one, find that it’s outrageously expensive, and email our surgery coordinator to find out if someone else will pay for it.  
9:45: Discover it’s Library Day in the Life, begin following it on Twitter, and notice that the humidity in my office may rival the humidity outside.
10:00-12:00: Finally break down and continue updating the library’s policies and procedures.  This is a very unfun task, but necessary as the they haven’t been updated since 2001.  It’s very quiet in the library, but that’s fairly typical lately.  I think it has something to do with it being oppressively hot outside (why I’m not sure, but I’m convinced they’re related).   
12:00: I eat lunch at my desk (leftovers from the weekend) and read a book I brought from home.  I eat at my desk because I usually get the most requests when the residents are at lunch.  I like to hang around from 11:00-1:00 just in case.  Today, though, no requests.
12:30: A shipment of books arrives!  I unpack it excitedly and set them aside to be cataloged later in the afternoon.  These are books I ordered the day I found out my book budget is as large as it is, so I’m really excited to have some nice new books.
1:00: The librarian from the sister hospital calls and says she overwhelmed and asks if I’m busy.  I am most certainly not so she passes me a lit search.  The question: why and how does the JC choose the antibiotics they recommend for the treatment of pneumonia?  I search PubMed and Google for the answer without much luck.  I also try UpToDate, which has the same suggestions but doesn’t state how they arrived at that recommendation.  
2:00: I pass along the information that I did find and go back to blog reading and playing around online.  I update our the libraries’ blog to share the new books that came in.
2:30 I check Docline (our ILL system) and see that we have no new requests.
2:40: I have a huge “that’s what she said” moment (that I won’t repeat here) and was very glad that no one was around to witness it.  
3:00: I start cataloging the new books.  I actually have to change part of a MARC record (scary!), but do it successfully.  I create a new Pandora station and listen to show tunes which makes this task go by much faster.  
4:00: I finish cataloging and make a new sign to hang up reflecting the books that have arrived in last month at the library.  
4:30: I frantically remember that I’m not going to be in the office for two days because of a leadership seminar so I make a list of things I need my library assistant to do while I’m gone.  
4:45: Leave work.  This was actually a fairly productive day for me.  Reference work, updating policies and procedures, and cataloging make for a good day!
That was my day! I’m glad this was a good day to share, because I’ve had some extra quiet days and some days where I’m so busy I can’t breathe.  That’s life as a solo I’m learning.  Every day is a new adventure! 
Did you participate in Library Day in the Life?  How did your day go?

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