I’m on the evening desk shift today so it’s a late start for me. I arrive at about 9.50am, make a cup of coffee then sit down for my Chat service shift from 10am until 12pm. We are part of an international co-op to offer 24/7 Chat to our students; in the middle of the night their enquiries are picked up by librarians in the US, and during the day we pick up enquiries from students at US universities, as well as our own. I love doing Chat; you never know what you’re going to get asked and it’s a great feeling to be able to help students on the other side of the world! The chats start flying in and I’m fairly busy; I help students in California with finding statistics and a student in Maryland who can’t access a section of their library website. It’s definitely challenging; you need to quickly read the policy page for the student’s institution to work out how you can help them, and you can’t always access the same databases that they can. They are very grateful though – it’s the early hours of the morning where they are and they’re still able to get some help – and one tells me I am awesome which is lovely! I also help one of our students with referencing. Students are invited to fill in a feedback survey when their Chat ends, and today I receive my first feedback survey from this student, who found the service really useful; so it’s a very successful Chat session for me today!
When I’m Chatting I can’t leave my desk or get involved in anything else, so in between enquiries I do little jobs like catching up with emails, selecting programmes from the Radio Times to select on Box of Broadcasts, and looking through the session plan for a repeat of the teaching I did on Monday.
My Chat session overruns a little, as often happens, but I still have time for a lunch break before teaching at 1pm. I get positive feedback on the session again, and feel like I go through the databases a bit more slowly this time, which is good.
After teaching I return to my desk to read the feedback forms and work through some more email actions, before an enquiry desk shift at 3pm. It’s fairly quiet – the only enquiry I get is about booking a study room - so I finish selecting programmes on Box of Broadcasts and catch up on some more emails. At 4pm I’m off the desk and I take a short coffee and cake break before finishing off my programme selection and doing some more teaching feedback evaluation (see yesterday’s blog post).
At 5pm I’m back on the enquiry desk. I have quite a busy shift this time: I help students to find books and print their work and ask some noisy students to be a bit quieter, as well as getting up fairly frequently to let in students who don’t have their student cards – the doors lock after 5pm and they are supposed to swipe in with their card! In between all of this I do some more teaching feedback evaluation and send some emails. At 6.30pm it’s time for me to close the desk and go home. A security guard keeps the library open self-service only until 9pm.
Later on that evening, I make some veggie rocky road to take into work for my colleagues tomorrow in early celebration of National Libraries Day…hope it turns out well!