Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Library Day in the Life, Round 8: Friday

I start later than normal today, as I am staying past the usual Friday finish time of 4.30pm and have some flexitime to use up too. I arrive at about 9.30, armed with my homemade veggie rocky road to share with my colleagues in celebration of National Libraries Day tomorrow! I also put out some sweets for the students on our NLD display.

I check my emails and respond to one from a friend who is kindly coming to present at one of our staff development hours as an outside speaker, answering some of her questions about what is required and also provisionally arranging for her graduate trainee to come and visit us at the same time. I respond to few more emails and go through the UKSG e-news, looking for anything of interest to me as a campus library journals librarian.

After a quick coffee (and a sample of the rocky road which has gone down very well with colleagues -  I am proud!), I finish off the evaluation of previous teaching sessions which I started earlier in the week. Then it’s 12pm and time for an hour on the enquiry desk. I get a few enquiries, about fines and printing. In between these queries, I try to sort out my overflowing email inbox, having received several warning emails about it getting too full, sorting messages into folders and deleting anything I don’t need. I also try to work out whether I’ve migrated everything of my accounts that I need to, in preparation for a forthcoming change in e-resource authentication, and have the odd peek at the Guardian HE Live Chat which is taking place at the moment,  on the topic of the role of the academic librarian in today’s HE institution.

I take lunch from 1 until 2, and then catch up with my book classifying. We receive most of our books shelf-ready, but we have a few rules (such as if there are more than six numbers after the point, or fewer than 4 items at that classmark already) which mean that books are passed to subject librarians to check and re-classify if necessary. Occasionally we purchase books from elsewhere which require classification from scratch -  I love doing this as it’s like detective work, and so satisfying when you finally settle on a classmark! All of the books waiting on my shelf are shelf-ready ones to be checked. I decide that some can go through as they are, but that I need to shorten or change the classmark for others. Media and cultural studies covers such a wide range of topics that I can be asked to purchase books on pretty much anything, and it’s fascinating to look through them. The books I’m checking now cover topics from social media to gaming to pornography in China!

Next, I sort out the AV reports for last month. At the end of every month I receive a report generated from the LMS which shows the catalogue records for all of the new DVD titles added to our stock that month. I check this report carefully for any misspellings or errors. This is really important as something as simple as a typo in the title of a DVD can render it difficult or almost impossible for a user to find, and if I don’t catch it at this stage it will get lost. Every month the LMS also generates a report of all AV held in our library, which I export to Excel and tidy up into a useable list to be saved in the AV folder on our shared drive, for our records. From this spreadsheet I use filters to create a spreadsheet of DVDs currently known to be missing, and titles which have no BBFC classification; again, I save these to the shared drive every month, as being able to access this information quickly and easily is helpful.  

After another cup of coffee (and another piece of rocky road) I’m back on the enquiry desk from 4 until 5. I only have one enquiry, which is about printing. For the rest of the time I try to work out with a colleague what the story is behind a mysterious box of DVDs that has been found in the office, create a spreadsheet of “suspect” missing DVDs – DVDs which went missing without apparently ever being borrowed, so we want to keep an eye on their replacements – respond to some more email actions, and look through a couple of book alerts to see if there is anything we don’t have which, based on my knowledge of modules and teaching areas, my department might want. I also look at what I’ve got on next week and make sure I’ve prepared everything that I need to.

At 5pm I’m finished for this week. Apart from the day off on Monday, this has been a fairly typical week – a lot of different tasks to manage, and one evening shift. About once every six weeks I work the Saturday shift. I don’t teach every week; usually only during October/November and January/February  - but this is a typical week when we do have teaching.

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