Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Day in the Life of a Reference Librarian 2005

Monday started with so many chores that it seemed a good day to chronicle. Maybe a library school student can gain some insight into the work of a librarian from this posting. Then again maybe I'm not typical. Perhaps this will just be amusing.


Before work:

1. I took my daughter to school.

2. I bought packing tape at a big box pharmacy.

3. The nob on the front door pulled off when I got home so I took an early run to a big box hardware store to buy a door set. The installation was easier than I expected.

4. I finished sealing boxes containing Christmas packages to mail to relatives.

5. I changed the cat's litter box.


At work in the workroom:

1. I turned on the public computers. No problems this morning.

2. I listened to phone messages. I needed to fax an obituary to a social service agency.

3. I checked the bulletin board for out-of-date fliers. None were out-of-date, a surprise for a Monday morning.

4. I delivered candy from my daughter's choir fundraiser to a colleague.

5. I replaced the battery in a clock. Kris had one battery left.

6. I wound the grandfather clock.

7. I redirected some mail into others' mail boxes.

8. I found my missing cup so I could make some cocoa.

9. I rolled a cart of withdrawn books to the library friends' closet.

10. I recorded statistics for the withdrawn books.

11. I lugged two boxes of income tax instruction booklets to my desk.

12. I left a phone message for a prospective lecturer.

13. I recorded program attendance statistics.

14. I checked the library email. I redirected some emails to the director and some to the head of circulation. I read several messages about reference topics.

15. I read my own email, including a message about the Sony CD mess. I found a website listing the CD titles. Quickly I posted the info to my blog and made a notice for the bulletin board.

16. I took a call from a resident's having problems with her email. When she comes in on Tuesday I will try to troubleshoot with her.

17. I edited the programs list on the library website, deleting last weeks programs.

18. I discussed more obituary searches with a social services agency.

19. I sent an email to a folk musician.

20. I listened to 4 songs on a CD from another prospective performer while I checked Bloglines.


After lunch at the reference desk, with a little wandering around the library:

1. I learned the history behind Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted comic strip, which started in 1935. Grey died in 1939 and the strip continued without him until 1954. The strip was not based on a book.

2. I showed an Internet user on how to enter a URL to find a website.

3. I found 32 makers of commercial ice cream making machinery.

4. I found instructions for wiring light emitting diodes (LEDs) - in series and parallel. Client is lighting a doll house he is building.

5. I checked in issues of the ValueLine and Morningstar.

6. I consulted with Aaron about changes to make to our website.

7. I found an illustration of the Czech flag.

8. I found the latest issue of People for a reader.

9. Aaron and I traded shifts during the week after Christmas.

10. I helped an Internet user understand a flight itinerary on a ticketing website. He did not want to change planes.

11. I recorded some Internet use statistics.

12. I helped a client make coffee with the coffeemaker we have on trial during December.

13. I refilled the water tank in the coffeemaker.

14. I discussed making an obituary index with Beth. It is her idea.

15. I posted some bookmarks to the library's del.icio.us account so they would feed to our website.

16. I moved 8 more boxes of tax instruction booklets. There is not much room under my desk now!

17. I read blogs Aaron found pointing to Thomas Ford's website and podcasts: LibrarianInBlack and Rhodarian and Tim Lauer. The attention is encouraging.

18. I verified the title of a book for a client. It was amazing to get so late in the day before doing this. It was kind of a slow day.

19. I showed an email user whose printout cut off the right side of his message to click the link to printable view.

20. Aaron shows me how to clean a CD or DVD with our new Azuradisc disc care and repair machine.

21. I deliver more candy. Chocolate is always appreciated.

22. I added a couple of books to my Baker and Taylor cart.

23. I helped a client print 11 x 17 to out networked printer.

24. I found a photo of a statue in Chicago using the Chicago Tribune microfilm.

25. I replenished the paper in the photocopier before I left.


After work:

1. I picked my daughter up after her choir rehearsal.

2. I made dinner using leftovers.

3. I put the garbage and recycling by the curb.

4. I continued reading The Working Poor: Invisible in America for my book club.


As I look back on the list, I see some universal themes recurring: death and taxes and chocolate and the Internet. Tuesday will be much the same but different.

5 comments:

mona said...

thank you, i am a library student and it was very interesting.

Ivan Chew said...

"... will be much the same but different" -- that's the way it has been for librarians, and will always be, I think. Thanks for sharing this. I considered doing a "Day in the life of" post but I've been skivving lately so I'd better not! LOL

The Mad Librarian said...

Sounds much like the days here, but we draw the line at helping patrons make coffee!

Anonymous said...

I am a library student and I am trying to decide what type of librarian I want to be, although I know I would like to work in a public library. I find the most satisfaction from my online searching class, so I am leaning toward specializing in reference services at my SLIS. You post was great because it showed me the variety of things you have to juggle in a given day. It seems right up my alley. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Azuradisc machine does not work the dual disc is a rip off and the site is full of false claims.