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February 21, 2012 / Christian M.

Library Day in the Life 8 Continued…

This post is a part of the Library Day In The Life Project, Round 8. It’s a great opportunity for library workers to learn from their colleagues and share more information about the library profession. The actual project was January 30 – February 3, 2012, and I was unable to finish my posts at that time, so here is the continuation of that week.


I am a Library Associate II in a public library system. I am currently assigned to a very busy medium-sized branch in an urban community. I have been here since December, and I will stay here until the summer. My regular branch (which is smaller and not quite as busy) is currently under renovation.  This is a generalist branch, which means the information staff works with all ages, and we do not have any age level specialists.


Information Desk: About four hours of my day is spent behind the Information Desk. Most of my responsibility here is assisting customers with their questions. There is only one desk that serves both adults and youth.


  • The biggest aspect of Info Desk work involves finding appropriate resources. Some customers want to know what materials we have on a certain topic, and others have a title (or titles) in mind, and need me to check the shelves or place a hold from another branch. Some recent topics for adults include: graphic design/ web design, music business and entertainment contracts, heating and air conditioning, how to tattoo, black history, and exam books (GED, ASVAB, and NCLEX especially). Recent topics for youth have been mostly related to homework assignments and lots of requests for Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.


  • Another big aspect for me personally is helping customers who are using the public computers. Some of our Info staff are not as tech-savvy, so they will often defer these type of questions to me. Some recent topics include formatting Word documents, opening a zip file, attaching files to email, converting a bmp image to a jpeg, and online job applications. I have received two questions recently about creating graphs using Word, but I’m not familiar with that, so I had to point them to online tutorials.


  • Our Info Desk is also the “call center” of the branch. Info staff answers and directs all incoming calls.


Computer Classes: I teach individual and small group computer classes for adults. I mostly focus on introduction to computers, and basic email and internet. Customers have to sign up in advance for these lessons. At the moment we don’t advertise very much, just by word of mouth to those who ask for help with computers. At my regular branch, I had prepared some written curriculum for our classes, and I have been asked to share these with the staff at this branch so that we are all teaching the same content. However, since I’ve been here, I have taught most of the lessons.


Staff Meetings: We had one impromptu meeting this week about how we should structure computer classes in the future. We are considering setting a weekly time for drop-in classes that cover the basics, and no pre-registration would be required. Then we would offer some “special topics” such as Microsoft Word or email that would be by registration only. We also discussed what information should be included on the flier. The topics will stay pretty basic because that is what most of the staff here is comfortable teaching. They don’t want to start offering anything too advanced that no one could take over after I have gone back to my regular branch.


Miscellaneous Tasks: When Info staff are “off-the-desk” they spend that time working on special projects or preparing for upcoming programs. Since this is not my branch, I just do whatever is needed at the moment. A lot of times I end up shelving books. Lately, I have been doing a lot of shifting of books too. This branch was renovated last year, and there was a rush to reopen to the public on time, so some of the items were not shelved in their permanent location. I have been assisting with moving books where my supervisor would like them to be. Both of these tasks involve a lot of lifting, bending and squatting, and sometimes result in a sore back and arms.

So that was the rest of my week. I hope you enjoyed the read! 🙂


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