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July 29, 2011 / Christian M.

Library Day in the Life: July 25-31, 2011

I apologize for this delayed post coming at the end of the week. I have actually been off most of the week, hosting family visiting from out of town. I only worked two days, and I will summarize all my activities for the week instead of focusing on a specific day.

This post is a part of the Library Day In The Life Project, Round 7. It’s a great opportunity for library workers to learn from colleagues and share more information about the library profession.

I am a library associate in a public library system. I work in a small branch in an urban community. All the Information Staff are generalists, which means we work with all ages, and we do not have any librarians who are age level specialists.

Information Desk: Most of my day is spent behind the Information Desk answering customers’ questions. I rotate between the Youth and Adult Desks. Information requests may range from a student (grade school or college) with a homework question, to an adult looking for the newest novel by their favorite author, to a senior needing help logging in to their email account. I don’t think I have ever received a true research-type question. Most reference questions are ready-reference. But really, most of my time on the desk is spent helping customers with computers or placing holds for books we don’t have in our branch’s collection. Occasionally, I have to fend off male admirers (see here and here). There are also the ever constant questions of where is the printer, and where is the bathroom.

Storytime: At least once a month, I lead a preschool storytime. This program is shared by all the information staff (who have received appropriate training), and we take turns presenting the storytime. When I first started, I was very nervous – but not anymore. I still plan in advance (most of the time) and write out a storytime outline. This week I only had four children show up, but they were very involved so we all had fun.

Collection Maintenance: All the Information Staff have been assigned a section of shelves they are responsible for shelf-reading and weeding of damaged/outdated materials. I have recently been assigned the children’s fiction and non-fiction. They are somewhat in disarray, and so I have been doing some serious weeding of worn out books, and lots of sorting and putting in order. *sigh *

For the children’s and teen books, the selection staff creates a replacement list on our vendor’s website. The branch staff can log in and monthly (or bi-monthly for teen books) place orders for books that need to be replaced due to condition or because they were lost. So this week I have been submitting my orders for July. In the past, all the info staff shared the responsibility of submittimg youth replacement orders. However, since I took over this part of the collection, I have taken over all the replacement orders for children’s books.

Community Information: I am responsible for maintaining the bulletin boards & the display table of community information – flyers, newspapers, magazines, and handouts that are free for the taking. I post new handouts, and remove whatever is outdated or irrelevant to our neighborhood.

Committee Meetings: My library system is starting a five-year strategic planning process. I was selected to serve on the steering committee, and we were responsible for developing the vision statement, mission statement, and six major goals that need to be accomplished in the next five years. Six additional meetings will be held to decide on objectives and tasks within each goal. I participated in one of the goal meetings yesterday. I have another goal meeting to attend on Monday.

School: I am pursuing my master’s degree in library science at The Catholic University of America. The summer class I am currently enrolled in is Information Sources and Services, which is so applicable to what I am doing in my current position. I am really enjoying learning more about reference services, as well as fine-tuning my reference interview skills and developing better knowledge of the process for evaluating sources and the use of various search tools and techniques.

So that’s my week!

Image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos



Leave a Comment
  1. Evelyn N. Alfred / Nov 12 2011 9:30 am

    What a good idea to have such a project. I bet most people don’t know what librarians do.

  2. LibGirl09 / Nov 12 2011 3:23 pm

    It is a great idea. Round 8 of the project should be coming up in January. You’re right, most people don’t know what we do. They think we just read books all day, or that the only qualification for our job is to know the Dewey Decimal system. *sigh*

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