Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ontario Library Week: A Day In The Life Of... Melanie from The Indextrious Reader

Today we have an amazing post from Melaine (The Indextrious Reader). This post was inspired by my BFFs feature A Day In The Life Of and I thought it was a perfect guest post for us to find out what it is like for someone who works in the library system. So I hope you enjoy Melanie's post and will pop over and visit her blog today!

A Day in the Life: the Multipurpose Librarian!

I work in what is officially classed as a “medium sized library” here in Ontario. Working in a system that has one branch and only 28 employees means that I do a little of everything, as most librarians must in this kind of setting. People still think that librarians must enjoy reading all day... it's very far from fact. In a library my size we do everything from meetings and community outreach to the very non-professional job of cleaning up bathroom accidents. Public service work... it never gets boring!

I work primarily in the technical services department, which means a lot of my work deals with the physical materials of the library. But I also do children's programs. And lots of public service. If you are in a smaller library, you may do more of the administrative work as well. If you are in a larger library, you may have more regimented daily tasks. In the medium sized library, there is just enough room to have to do many different things while just enough people so that management is at a separate level.

But here is a representative “day-in-the-life” of my particular job:

9:00: arrive and quickly check email for any urgent messages or schedule changes

9:10-9:30: if not on desk schedule, look at work left over from previous day and prioritize 

:if ON desk schedule, rush out and print daily notices, turn all public computers & equipment on, and process daily newspapers

9:30-10:00: try to either finish desk work, begin receiving/processing new books & materials, or prepare for children’s programs, depending what day it is!

9:55: use bathroom before program begins. Vital step.

10:00: gather materials – books, crafts, flannel boards etc -- for preschool program

10:10: warm up voice by singing scales and humming on the way up and down the stairs to the program room, coincidentally alerting the other staff that it is time for programs!

10:30-11:00: facilitate program: crowd control, read loudly over crying babies and talking parents, sing, dance, tell flannel board stories, enthuse over picture books

11:00-11:15: hand out craft materials and help numerous children not to make too much of a mess or eat too much glue

11:15-11:30: clean up room, put chairs, tables, rugs, and program materials (books, craft bits, flannels) away

11:30-12:00: write up program report with stats; check in books used; plan next week's program; suck on throat lozenge

12:00-1:00: lunch break (eat, run errands, and definitely grab a coffee on program days!)

1:00-3:00: perform reference services at the public service desk (answer any question that comes my way, and troubleshoot technical questions for bank of public computers and/or "how to download e-books” queries)

:jump for joy (internally) when I actually get my favourite kind of question, the “what should I read now” Readers' Advisory question

:Try to finish some technical services work at the same time, ie: ordering books, invoicing books, or processing “flips” (old editions pulled and withdrawn when superseded by newer editions) while never neglecting the public

:assist circulation staff if it gets really busy for them; answer phones

3:00-4:00: whew! Take my break and then get back to processing new materials, replacing/restoring errors in the catalogue or with the physical items, inputting orders, invoicing yet again, checking emails periodically for news

: some days, spend at least an hour in meetings

4:00-5:00: Continue with much of the same. Try to finish a few things completely before the end of the day. Set up work for next day. Try to talk to colleagues at some point in all of this. Think longingly of the professional development reading I had once again intended to get to. Wonder once again where the day went.

5:01 : In a perfect world, leave on time!

Librarian, text-addict, and expert technology-based timewaster

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