Monday, 25 July 2011

Library Day in the Life, round seven: Monday

I’m sure those of you reading this are familiar with the Library Day in the Life project, but if not, then you can find out more here. Basically, twice a year library staff and students blog and tweet about their day or their week, to provide an insight into the many different roles that we have. I began participating during the last round, in January of this year. Last time, I wrote very detailed, realist accounts of my days over the week, hoping to bring the reader into my day as far as possible, to give them a sense of my workplace life. I think this was a good approach, but I don’t think I need to repeat it each time, so for this round I am going to write short blog posts of each day, highlighting the main things that I have been doing. If you want to know more about anything, please feel free to ask in the comment section!

I am an Assistant Librarian working in a small campus library. My role covers several aspects; I have responsibility for management of journals at this campus, some acquisitions functions, classifying and maintaining the AV collection, and subject liaison for media and cultural studies. I also line-manage two members of staff, and contribute to the overall management of the library. I don’t tend to do a bit of everything in one day; usually I’ll be concentrating mostly on something within one of my roles.

Because of the different parts to my job, I don’t have a typical day, so I will blog each day for the rest of this week; a week should be much more representative of what I do.

Some of the things that I did today are
  • Line management admin. I didn’t realise before I started my role how much time line management can take up. As well as meeting with the staff you line manage, you need to write up notes from your meetings, carry out appraisals, and other one-off things. It’s really important to make the time to do the writing-up as well as the actual contact time. We’re in the middle of appraisal season at the moment, and it’s really helpful to look back at what the two of you have discussed in the past, what their achievements throughout the year have been, etc.
  • Desk shift. During term-time, the librarians and senior library assistants work on the enquiry desk, and the library assistants work on the service desk. However, at the moment it is vacation, so we are only running the service desk, and all of us take turns there. During my hour on the desk today, I helped a student use the photocopier, issued some Inter-Library Loans, took some fines, and emptied the book bins from the self-service machine. There aren’t many students around so there isn’t a great deal to do on the desk at this time of year; I take some other work out with me to do.
  • Created a spreadsheet of journal fund codes. I spend a lot of time creating, updating and working with spreadsheets, particularly in the journals side of my role. I can’t say it’s my favourite bit of my job! It is however, very necessary – we need accurate records – and it’s quite rewarding when you get a spreadsheet finished which is going to be really useful! Today, I’m mapping old fund codes to the new ones coming in this year, in anticipation of the main renewals (the journals for which the subscription runs from January to January, which is most of them) which we will process in a couple of months. It takes a lot longer than I anticipated, partly because I have to double-check a few which are moving to a fund code within a different subject, and partly because I don’t hit on the most efficient way to do it until I’m nearly at the end – sigh!
  • Attend Campus Management Group meeting. The librarians and senior library assistants – 6 of us in total – try to meet every fortnight to discuss what’s going on in the library, make decisions about priorities, iron out any problems etc. Today we start to talk about plans for the new academic year; rotas for the coming term, and how we’ll be involved in Welcome Week.
  • Pricing up DVDs to purchase. I basically look up each title on my list on Amazon, and Moviemail, to find out where is cheaper, and put them all into another lovely spreadsheet! 
I arrived home to an email from my Chartership mentor, asking how it’s going. I have been rubbish with my Chartership recently – time to ‘fess up…

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