Library Day in the Life

by Elizabeth on January 25, 2011 · 1 comment

in librarians, librarianship, libraries, life, medical libraries

Every so often, us librarians get bored and like to share our (super exciting) days with other librarians. It’s called Library Day in the Life and it happens about twice a year. I shared my day with you this past summer, and I’m sharing what my yesterday was like with you again now.

Yesterday was actually a very non-typical day for me because I was at our sister library helping with a project. I’m actually glad that we scheduled our project for yesterday because it gives me the opportunity to share a difference side of librarianship from the day-to-day reference and management stuff.

So, in chronological order, here is how my day went:

8:30 – arrive at the library, chat with the librarian there, catch up on our weekends, the latest gossip, etc (we’re friends which makes working together so much easier).

8:45 – Greet our library assistant (she goes back and forth between libraries) and we go over the plan for the day

9:00 – Check my own email, facebook, and twitter. Realize it’s #libday6 and what a great day it is for that. So naturally I tweet about it. Our boss comes in with some news and inquires about our project.

9:15 – The library’s phone starts ringing and suddenly we all have work to do. I print out a few of the ILL articles that came in over the weekend and put them in the doctor’s box for her to pick up later.

9:30 – The other librarian gives me a list of citations to confirm, which I do and then I print and/or order the articles. The phone rings again with yet another search and two more doctors make appearances with requests.

9:45 – I wonder if we are ever going to get started on our project or if we are going to be busy with reference work all day

10:00 – I reach into my librarian’s bag of tricks and find some articles for a doctor on seasonal affective disorder. She’s given a talk about it (on TV!!) today and she forgot to ask for research help later. Grr…I hate when they wait until the last minute. I give the citations I find to our assistant to track down.

10:30 – My colleague is still working on several other searches, so I go ahead and get started on our weeding project. Her journal collection is quickly overwhelming her space so we need to decide what needs to go and what stays. Unfortunately, our catalog isn’t the best kept up (thanks to the former overworked librarian, us being overworked, and just not wanting to deal with it), so we can’t just print out a shelf list and go from there. I start at the beginning of the alphabet and work my way through the stacks, noting the title and the date ranges on my trusty notepad. I run back and forth to the computer to check what I have in my library (we did this same project last spring so my part of the catalog is up to date – the journal part at least. The books leave a lot to be desired.). At this point, I wish out loud for an iPad. My colleague begins checking grant options to see if we can get one.

11:45 – The other librarian finishes up her work and starts working with me to make it through the journal collection. It’s slow going.

12:00 – We break for lunch and I’m reminded yet again how this hospital’s food is so much better (and cheaper!) than mine.

1:15 – We are slow to get back to work, but we do. We finish going through the shelves.

2:00 – It’s time to make some decisions. We use the catalog and our statistics to decide what needs to go and we come up with a good sized list.

2:45 – We move on to discussing the budget, what journals to buy, what to cut (we have to make a 2% cut this year), how we are going to pay for the MLA conference, and discuss a few new products we want to try. We are really interested in eBooks, but no ideas on whether or not they will get used and should we spend the money? Money. It always circles back to money.

3:45 – The other librarian goes back to work on some more searches while I type up a list of what is to be discarded because I’m the only person who can read my handwriting. Oops. I also type up some different cut/keep options with prices to see how much money she can save.

4:40 – It’s finally time to go. I’m exhausted.

Clearly, this wasn’t an ordinary day since I wasn’t in my own library and we worked on some not-every day projects. Collection maintenance isn’t my favorite part of the job; I would much rather develop the collection than make cuts, but it’s a huge part of ours. We both have such small spaces to work with so we have to make the best decisions possible for our librarians, our users, and our budgets. Making cuts and throwing things away isn’t glamorous, but someone’s got to do it.

What do you think about my day? Did you learn anything? If you’re a librarian, how does my day differ from yours?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Jonathan January 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I enjoyed your post because I had no idea what you did. In the back of my mind you were like a prison trustee wheeling a cart of books around all day for the patients. Should have known you would be putting that brilliant mind to better use than that. Nancy and I hope to see your new house soon.


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