Monday, July 27, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

Here is my addition to the Day in the Life of a Librarian project.

What's it like to be the Head of Youth Services at a public library in suburban Chicagoland? Imagine the circus act of plate spinning combined with putting out fires and working a customer service desk. Nice. Never boring. I'm lucky to work in a great library with excellent patrons and staff.

This particular day, my official schedule was 12:30-9:00. Working evenings and weekends is one of the great pros/cons of working in public service. It is a great opportunity to build relationships as often patrons visit the same night each week.

However, a librarian's work is never really done. I check Twitter before I leave for work in the morning. On this day, I stopped at a new coffee shop in town and scoped it out for a possible location for a game night program! Would be interesting to pursue...

Here's what I did during the afternoon:
  • Picked up book on hold and checked it out in under 1 minute. See this video I shot of a librarian using our self check.
  • Broke out a bag of Chex Mix for Youth Services staff. This particular group craves salty versus sweet snacks. Management Rule 1: Keep the troops happy. Food helps.
  • Waded through email since I left early on Friday and came later on Monday.
  • Caught up with staff members about recent programs presented.
  • Finalized September work schedule, adjusted schedules to work around a library school student's schedule (happy to!).
  • Communicated with staff about big, "sold-out" program scheduled for tomorrow and what programs to be promoting by word of mouth.
  • Started conversations with programming librarian about planning programs for Summer 2010.
  • Requested graphics from PR Manager.
  • Followed up with AV selectors regarding orders due today. New selectors, various vendors, gets complicated. Stressing need to have items available on street dates (Next 39 Clues audiobook for example) for patrons.
  • Tried to register for Handheld Librarian conference. Fail. Will try again.
  • Beat my head against the wall. Only a little.
My evening was spent working on the reference desk. It was a fairly quiet night. This summer we did an online summer reading club for the first time. We have worked hard to continue our goal of creating positive, interactive experiences at the library by awarding readers with beans that they put into a large hourglass for every book they read. They also receive prizes: bookmark (5), free book from Friends of the Library (10), personalized bookplate in library book of their choice (15), ring the library GONG (20), patch (25) and beans continue after that. That being said, here's what I did on the reference desk this evening.
  • Awarded readers prizes for completing various levels of the reading club! So fun.
    The beans are the best incentive.
  • Helped patrons with various requests.
  • Restocked Caudill and Monarch (state reading award nominees) displays. These are very popular with students and teachers.
  • Reviewed book and AV orders submitted by staff. This took the majority of the evening with several new selectors involved.
  • Wrote emails with tips for new selectors that were lost when my browser crashed. Urgh.
  • Rewrote what I could remember of emails that were lost.
  • Considered adding standing order DVD selection for our small branch collection.
  • Read through ILA Reporter. Will staff want to do "Scare Up a Good Book" for next summer's reading club theme?
  • Walked through department and imagined future reorganization. We are adding some new graphic novel/magazine shelves and removing some reference shelves which should allow us to create a more appealing TEEN fiction section, as well as an in-house gaming area. However - we will need to work hard to still have an area for quiet study...continuing to brainstorm.
  • As Librarian in Charge, I coordinated the building closing at 9:00.
Another benefit of working an evening - when I come home my dog acts like I've been gone for a year.

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