Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Library Day in the Life, Round 8: Wednesday

I’m on the first enquiry desk shift again so it’s another 8.10am start to get the library set up for opening. While I’m doing this a colleague calls in sick, so, being the person who took the call, my first job of the day when I sit down at the desk at 8.30 is to arrange cover for their issue desk shifts. I and two colleagues are able to cover so that’s sorted quite quickly. Today it’s not long before I get my first enquiry; a student needing help with finding materials on British theatre in the 1980s. I search through some of the electronic databases with them and emphasise the need to think of different ways to describe the search terms. I only have one other enquiry before my shift ends; helping a student with the new online study-room booking system. I spend the rest of the time catching up with emails and making a start on checking a long list of books passed to me by an academic, to find out which we have already and which we need to purchase.

At 10am I’m off the desk, and after a short coffee break I go back to the book list. It takes me most of the rest of the morning to work out what we need to buy and how much it is likely to cost; I share a book budget with a colleague and as I know they have recently put a large order through, I want to check with them that this one is going to be OK in terms of funds! Once I’ve done this I look at an email that’s just dropped into my inbox about a new website which I think might be useful for my students. I am signed up for some Jiscmail lists for media and cultural studies academics, as well as LIS ones, in order to maintain a current awareness of new books, events, websites, blogs etc. in my subject area. My colleague and I have been adding links to useful websites for our subjects to Delicious stacks, and I wonder if this new site might also be worth adding. It turns out it’s not really appropriate. It’s now 12pm and I take my lunchbreak.

At 1pm I am back on the enquiry desk for an hour. This shift is a bit busier; I deal with enquiries about renewing an Inter Library Loan, extending a loan for teaching, booking rooms and accessing online journals. I go back to my office at 2pm and spend an hour working through the evaluation forms from some teaching that we did last week, analysing and summarising the results and comments into a useable document. After a short coffee break at 3pm, I send the big book order from this morning through to my colleagues who do the ordering, and then put up the National Libraries posters and signs that my colleague designed yesterday around the library. I’ll explain more about what we’re doing and maybe add some pictures in Friday’s blog post! I also email round the team to explain what we are doing for NLD, as it has all been a bit last-minute!

From 4 until 5pm I am covering the issue desk. It’s quiet – Wednesday afternoon usually is as it’s sports afternoon – I pass holds to a couple of students and answer a couple of queries about loan limits and fines. I don’t usually work on the issue desk so it’s nice to have a bit of a change of scenery and perspective! In between enquiries I start going through the Radio Times to look for anything I think we should record and add to library stock via the off-air recording service, and also for programmes to select on Box of Broadcasts, a fantastic TV and radio streaming database to which we subscribe. I do this every week and I select loads of stuff on BoB. Now that we have BoB I don’t request much to go on disc; mainly films for which the playback quality might be important. I don’t get all the way through so this will be one of my first tasks to complete tomorrow morning.

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