A Day in the Life of a Medical Librarian

by Elizabeth on August 30, 2013 · 3 comments

in librarianship, libraries, medical libraries

It’s been a really long time since I’ve done one of these posts.  There used to be something called Library Day in the Life, but the project was ended in 2012.  I always enjoyed sharing my days, especially since I have a sort of unique job.  I picked Wednesday as my day to keep track of my day and I’m really glad I did because it was a super busy day.  Usually I participate in table rounds with one of our clinical teams, but I didn’t get to meet with the team that day.  I’ll have to share more about that another time.

On Wednesday, my day went something like this:

8:00-8:30: All the usual early morning activities, like opening the library, booting up my computer, and straightening up the mess left over from the night shift.  I also, like I always do, made my to do list and then filled the InterLibrary Loan requests that came in overnight.

8:30-10:15: finished filling the ILL requests (I get around 20-25 a day), printed out a few search and article requests to get started on, chatted with a doctor when he came to pick up a presentation I edited, ate breakfast, and wrote a blog post.  While I was eating breakfast, I read a few blogs and caught up on the day’s news via Twitter.

10:15: Realize I should probably start doing real work because it’s already starting to pile up.

10:16-11:00: copied the August OB/GYN reading list articles for a doctor and then delivered them to his office.  I like to hand deliver things because it gets me out of the library.  I really dislike make copies and wish actively for a full time library assistant or an intern so I don’t have to stand at the copier for a half hour.

11:00-11:30: Answer the phone and return emails.  Fill article requests for a nurse, a pharmacist, a resident, and two attendings.

11:30-12:00: In between answering the phone and greeting people who came in the library (I was strangely busy with real people), I worked on finding articles for an administrator who wanted information on “characteristics of an effective leader”.  I used a variety of databases including logging in to the AVL with my own library card.  I only have access to health-related databases and I really needed information from business sources.  The search took a while because of the vast number of hits I kept getting.

12:00-1:00: Time for morning report.  I try to go at least once a week both for library publicity and to be on hand to answer any questions that come up.  I answered two on my iPad during the case presentation and then had requests for two articles and a search after it was over.  Metabolic acidosis is always a hot topic.

1:00: Realize I haven’t eaten lunch.  After checking the mail box and scoping out what’s in the cafeteria, I decide I’ll just eat the leftovers I brought.

1:15: Eat lunch at my desk and panic slightly at the amount of work surrounding me.  I’ve checked 4 things off my 10 item to do list and I have three searches that also need to be done.  Wish, once again, for full time help.

1:45: Fill some more ILL requests

2:00: Turn on my new “middle school revisited” playlist and buckle down.  It’s time to do all the things.

2:15-2:45: Finish the leadership search and order all the articles that I need.  It was a much bigger project than I thought it would be but I’m proud of what I found.

2:45: Eat some chocolate and ponder what needs to be done next.

3:00: Go on an article scavenger hunt.  I have to employee some tricks learned in an advanced reference class I think about how my professor would be proud of my investigative skills.

3:15: Fill more article requests, order articles, and send them off to the appropriate people.

3:30: Download a presentation for a doctor’s talk next week to make sure all the animation plays.  It doesn’t and after fighting with it, I give up.

3:45: Order more articles for my hospital’s CMO.

4:00-4:40: Work on the malfunctioning presentation again.  I even try it on another computer to no avail.  I call the person who helped put it together but we can’t come up with a solution.  All I can think of is that the two videos that aren’t playing are in file types we don’t support.  I’m very frustrated and make a note to call IT in the morning.  Working on these sorts of things are definitely not in my job description but I was doing it to be nice.

4:40: I curse myself for being too nice and leave because I can’t take it anymore.  Plus I already have 30 minutes of overtime this week so I’m ready to be done with this day.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LibGirl09 September 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

How did I miss this? I love reading “a day in the life” articles from other librarians. 🙂


2 Elizabeth September 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Don’t know, but I’m glad you came back and read it!


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