Librarianship,  Me

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

Last week I worked a Saturday shift at the library, which is actually very unusual for my schedule, though not at all unusual for many librarians. Because of this, I decided to do A Day in the Life post about the day!

The day started at 9:30, when the library opened. As usual, there were patrons waiting at the door for us to let them in, which another librarian did while I printed off the holds list. This is exactly what it sounds like…a list of the items patrons have placed on hold, which are currently available at our location. We run this list twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. I found the materials on the list, processed them, and sent them either to the front desk for patron pick-up, or to the delivery bins if they were being sent to another location.
After completing the holds list, I did some monthly stats for computer usage, and sent that and our monthly gate count (which measures how many people physically come into the library) to the librarian in charge of stats. Then I checked the desk email. There was a job posting to print off and post in the staff room, as well as a request from another location to look for some missing magazines.
One of my favourite parts of working desk shifts (which I do 1-2 days a week), is that I get a lot more interaction with other staff than I do the rest of the time when I work from my office. On this morning, I had a great chat about writing and blogging with one of the children programmers who is thinking of getting into the blogging world herself, to document her life experiences. That same programmer, another librarian working that day, and me also had a great talk about the future of our library, and we kicked around some fantastic programming ideas. I don’t always get to be involved in conversations like this in my current role as trainer, so it was really nice.
We had a technical problem with one of our screens in the library, which plays a continuous loop of upcoming events and current “spotlights”. Unfortunately, this problem is nothing new! I fiddled with it for a while, and eventually my co-worker got up on a ladder to unplug and replug one of the receivers, which finally did the trick. She’s so sweet…she wouldn’t let me anywhere near the ladder!
After all of this the day settled into a fairly normal routine of helping patrons. There were a lot of kids wanting to know where particular series are kept, several patrons wanting to use the computers, including a few that needed my help accessing documents or saving images to a USB. It’s funny the trends you notice with things like this, too…there have been several people in trying to print flight tickets from their email lately, so you can tell it’s vacation season!
Other patron requests included finding the same picture book in both English and French, locating certain authors in the library, placing holds for books at other locations, information on a local lake/golf course, a book needed for a summer school ISU (we’ve had a lot of those in the past few days as well), and a patron stocking up books before heading to the cottage, who wanted some personal recommendations for a genre that I don’t read. I grabbed my co-worker for this one. I can always find a book for someone in any genre, but when patrons want a recommendation from you personally, it can be a bit tricky when you know your tastes don’t align. Luckily, I could tell instantly that my co-worker has very similar tastes to this patron, and patron went away happy. This also led to a great discussion between me and my co-worker…she pointed out some of her recent favourite reads in this genre (which is contemporary CanLit), and then I proceeded to give her a few of my recent recommendations from YA, which she knows very little about!
Things were pretty steady throughout the day, but they got a bit busy during the last 30 minutes. This is fairly typical…over the summer we’re closed on Sundays, so people are eager to get in before they lose their chance for the weekend. However, we were able to help everyone with their last minute requests, and get everything closed down for 5:30, when the day is finished.
8 hour desk shifts can be exhausting, and it’s definitely nice to work out of an office sometimes. But I love having these shifts, too…I get to interact with patrons, with staff, and with the physical collection way more, which is great. I always feel more enthusiastic about adding books to my TBR pile after shifts like these, and let’s face it…being surrounded by books all day helps my writing motivation, too!

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