Library Day in the Life, Round 7

As part of the ongoing project illustrating the daily work lives of librarians, here’s a taste of what I did on Monday.  Is this typical?  Not really.  I rarely have as much time to devote to a single project (the grant).  Summer time is normally a chance to work on big projects, whereas the school year is largely devoted to library instruction and reference-type questions from students and faculty.

8:00am (OK, 8:10am).  Arrive at work, turn my computer on and make tea.  Because a day that doesn’t start with tea won’t go smoothly.  Tetley tea, milk and sweetener, in case you’re wondering.

8:15am to 9:00am: Read and write several emails related to a search committee I am chairing.  Come work with us!  We’re hiring a Library Business Manager and an Electronic Resources & Digital Scholarship Librarian.  Check the HR system to see if we have any applicants.  Yay!  We do!

9:00am to 11:00am:  Work on an outline for a grant.  It is a science education related grant, and I’m working with some folks from the biology department.  Naturally, I can provide the literature searching and citations.  When the faculty members want to say “35% of students do/know this” I find the citation that proves it (usually).  I am also assisting with their assessment plan.

Wiked Bugs Book Cover
Wicked Bugs: The louse that conquered Napoleon’s army and other diabolical insects by Amy Stewart

I get distracted several times following my stream on twitter, tweaking my circles on Google+ and chatting with a colleague about who should be responsible for updating the library floor plans. I find some cool things:

11:00am to 12:00pm: Search committee meeting.  Today we devised the rating form to use when we rank candidate applications.

12:00pm to 1:00pm:  Meet with several colleagues to discuss the status of a USGS document weeding project we’ve been working on.  A perusal of our storage room and stacks indicates that the project is farther along than we thought.  Next steps: set up a meeting with the Geological Sciences faculty to discuss where we go from here.

1:00pm to 1:30pm:  “Teaching with Technology” seminar series.  One of my colleagues from our IT department demonstrates how to customize Google Forms so that the data still goes into your Google Spreadsheet but you can use your own style sheets and additional HTML. Already thinking about how this will be useful in some information literacy classes this fall.

1:30pm: More email.  Send an email to the faculty in the departments I work with about the new app for ScienceDirect I found this morning.  Respond to emails from HR about our search, and read email from faculty regarding some library instruction sessions for the fall.  I don’t have time to read all of the attachments, so I’ll have to put that off until later.

2:15pm: I broke a shoe coming out of the staff lounge.  It’s really broken – the leather strap split in two.  Luckily I have sneakers in my desk, but I end up looking a bit dorky for the rest of the day.

2:20pm: Spend 5 minutes looking for new shoes on Zappos.com.  I realize that I don’t really need a new pair when the pair I like best costs $200.

2:30 to 4:00pm: Meeting about the grant to finalize the outline that we need to send to the President and Provost.  Realize that our latest budget outline doesn’t match up with our latest program description and attempt to figure out which one is correct.

General daily notes:  Lunch is often a luxury between meetings and getting work done.  Like today, I often eat at my desk.  Since I’m nursing my 4 month old daughter, I also need to find 15 minutes twice a day to get her milk.  It’s nice to work in an environment where I have the flexibility to do this.

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Library Day in the Life

Round 4 of the Library Day in the Life project is today.  Here is what I spent my time doing:

8:15am – Arrive at work.  Check email, resolve some scheduling issues regarding March CHEM 216 (Organic Chemistry) information literacy classes.  Thank my non-sciencey colleagues profusely for helping me teach seven 2 hour sessions in one week.

9-10am – Head down to a “satellite” library to look at Department of Agriculture documents with the Government Documents librarian.  We discuss what to keep and what to ditch and what to catalog.  Brief discussion of unused library space and the use of USGS documents and the scanning of NYS Museum docs.  Run into a biology faculty member.  Remind myself to stop by and see him when I am next in the Integrated Science Center.

10am – Tea.  Because life is better with tea.

10:10-11:45am – Work on a lesson plan for an upper level math class I will teach later this afternoon.  Teaching students about how to determine the intended audience of a particular article, resources to help spark research topic ideas, and basic search strategies.

11:45am – Tea and lunch and phone calls.  Talk with director of the Teaching and Learning Center about having a brown bag luncheon about open access.  He likes the idea, now I just have to find folks to come and get the thing organized.

12:15pm – Spend 15 minutes shopping online trying to find a dress for a wedding in May.  Give up.

12:30pm – Fix an IM chat widget for our new libguides implementation.  At least, I think it’s fixed. [Discover later tonight that it wasn’t fixed. Hmmm.]

12:45 – 2pm Organize and plan for a series of information literacy sessions in three biology classes with one professor.  Three different sessions are later this week.  Create survey about the primary literature to send to students to see if they can pick out a primary research article when they see one.  See poll

2pm – Discussion with associate director about library support for scholarly activity and why librarians need to stop going to library conferences.  He wishes there was library representation at this conference.

2:15pm – Tea

2:30 – Review lesson plan for this afternoon’s math information literacy session.  I know the less about the math and computer science literature than the natural sciences, so preparing for this session takes longer than normal.

3pm – Work on a blog post for the Milne Library News Blog.

3:15pm – Work on a blog post for this blog.

3:30pm – Download the latest podcasts and update my iPhone so I have something to listen to on my way home.

3:50pm – Head to the classroom for my information literacy class to set up tabs on computer.

4pm – Teach a session on understanding audience, finding a topic and finding literature for an upper level Math seminar class.

5:15pm – Go home.

7:00pm – Receive a thank you email from the Math professor regarding our class earlier in the day.  Do a little happy dance that it went well.

A day in my life as an undergraduate science librarian

I decided to follow along with a librarian blog meme, the “library day in the life“.  Since it is the summer, my day today is much different than a day during the semester.  The most notable difference is the lack of meetings.  Although the summer is a great time to make changes and get projects done, it can be very difficult to pull together all of the interested individuals.

Photo 4

7:55am – Arrive at work, Make tea.  The day can officially start.

8-8:30am – Check email, calendar.  Lots of folks are on vacation this week, which seems to account for my lack of meetings today.  Accept some future meeting invitations, decline others.  Realize that one librarian who had reference desk hours today won’t be here.  Email colleagues to see if we can split her hours.  Wishing Oracle calendar could actually interface with other things (esp. iPhone)

8:30am – Write up a blog post about our switch from SciFinder Client version to SciFinder Web.  Checking to see if appropriate URLs have been added to our proxy server so folks can get to SciFinder off campus.

8:50am – Got distracted by Explored Barnes and Noble’s new eBook reader for iPhone.  I already have the Kindle reader for iPhone, which I love.  I’d like to encourage some competition in the eBook market, though, so I think my next few purchases will be from B&N.

9:00am – First reference shift of the day, substituting for an absent colleague.   With very few students on campus, and even fewer in the library, this is very slow.  One person asked for tape, but no reference questions.

10am – Another hour of reference for absent colleague.  I will have three hours of reference today, one more than usual.

While at the reference desk this morning I manage to:

  • Catch up on a few blogs
  • Chat with our Sys admin to get some ezproxy settings changed for the switch to SciFinder web
  • Resolve a broken link in the blog post I just wrote
  • Smile and wave at a tour group as they point out the research help desk
  • Review a list of action items for a campus wide committee I’m on
  • Figure out why a link won’t work in our Resources by Subject lists
  • Explore possible ways of fixing that link, which is being problemmatic.
  • Finally fix the troublesome link
  • Smile and wave again at another tour group
  • Added google analytics to our new mobile webpages
  • Answered 1 reference question (How to find a copy of Civilization and its Discontents)

11:00am – Make tea, get a snack.

11:10am – Start cleaning desk.  Constant distractions as I stop to look up interesting things from the pieces of paper I should be throwing away or filing.  Some of the interesting things:

  • Math books from the MAA
  • IOP Librarian Forum on Facebook
  • Articles from sample copies of magazines I picked up at SLA 2009 in June
  • Finally figured out how to import our library blog to our library Facebook page. Did the same thing for my own blog on my own Facebook page. Also claimed the vanity URL for our library page.

12:15pm – Read an article about “making chat widgets work for online reference” from Online magazine (not freely available online).  Passed it along to a colleague who is on the committee working to implement web chat here.

12:30pm – Lunch.  Tried to read a Barnes and Noble eBook on my iPhone, but spent 15 minutes trying to “unlock” the book with my credit card number.  Why can’t I just log in to my B&N account?  Kindle reader wins this round.

1pm – Committee Meeting – “Creating a Collaborative Research Center”. I am on a campus committee here to look at ways to increase collaborative research (and the funding for that research).

2pm – Back on the reference desk, updating the Geology subject guideDistracted by Explored the neat search options on Mindat.org.  Finished adding some excellent resources.  Emailed faculty to inform them of the changes and to ask for additional suggestions.

3pm – Finally answered a real reference question just as my reference shift was ending.  Student was looking to see if we had any of the movies she had to watch for an assignment (most were checked out, but one was still available).

3:30pm – Head home.  I’m leaving early on Monday and Tuesday of this week to spend some time with my family.  This helps balance out all the times during the semester where I will stay late.