Library Day in the Life, Round 5

July 24, 2010 at 9:16 am (blogging, librarian, libraries, library, librarydayinthelife) ()

July 24, 2010

(The actual date for this round of  Library Day in the Life is July 26, but I don’t work on Mondays in the summer.)

This is a look into my life as a reference librarian at a semi-large urban public library in the Midwest.  On Saturdays, I work 8 hours on the desk.

Here are some of the issues I dealt with, and questions answered for patrons:

  • Troubleshooting problems with our VOIP phone system
  • “Can you use my ID to look up my library card number so I can use the Internet?”  (No, I can’t.  Patrons who live in our county must have their library card to use the computer or get free parking.)
  • “When is the children’s chess tournament?”
  • Place books on hold
  • Find call numbers for books on: a psychological disorder, Native American religion/spiritualism, Australian travel, a Sumerian goddess
  • Two interlibrary loan requests for titles we don’t have
  • LOTS of validating parking tickets
  • Which bands are playing at the outdoor concert tonight?
  • “Does the library offer computer classes ?” (Not until September.)
  • Yep, I did shush someone. :)
  • “When did women in the US get the right to vote?” (Do I get bonus points because I knew which Amendment and the year it became law even before I verified it?)
  • Which states have legalized medical marijuana?
  • Phone number lookup (had to use both an online database and print city directory to verify, since the names were listed slightly differently)
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Library Day in the Life, round 3

August 1, 2009 at 11:30 am (librarian, libraries, library, librarydayinthelife, mpow, work) ()

The second annual Day in the Life of a Library was this past week. Since I don’t work on Mondays, I’m recording mine again on a Saturday (August 1, 2009).

  • Signing up out of town patron for computer use.
  • Phone call for past week’s lottery numbers.
  • Reference question for a friend on Facebook regarding estrogen and memory.
  • Co-worker found a 1980s children’s book series for my friend.  Since our library doesn’t own them, I am interlibrary loaning the titles for their child, so they can read the books their parent enjoyed as a child.
  • Email: Troubleshooting library account problems for a homebound patron.
  • Phone: “What time is the children’s Tie Dye program?” [It was listed incorrectly on our events calendar; I quickly updated that.]
  • LOTS of holds placed over the phone.
  • Tabulating July statistics for our email Ask a Librarian service.
  • Removed unapproved literature from community information tables.
  • Update display wall: take down July children’s events calendar, put up a “Everybody’s Chicken Out Books”
  • Report problem to IT: bing.com is not saving Safe Search settings, will only accept Strict option.
  • “Where are large print books?”
  • Email: “Do you have this forthcoming fiction title?”  I can’t find any record of the title about which they are asking.  I emailed back to see if they wanted the one listed as upcoming on the author’s Web site.
  • “Can I get this book from Reshelve?”
  • “Where can I get a library card?”  (Always lots of these…)
  • I’ve been taking Library 101 photos for Michael Porter and David Lee King’s video project; will see what I can do today.
  • ACT study guides
  • Help with PIN
  • “Can I have that poster when you take it down?”
  • Phone: Questions about our digital sender which scans documents/photos to email.  (They later came in and I helped them use the scanner.)
  • “Where is a photocopier?”
  • No longer need a book that is being held at a branch.
  • Phone: Need a hold transferred to a branch for pickup.
  • Book from Storage collection not available.  We did have a (non-circulating) copy in another department.
  • Chat with regular teen patrons.
  • Definition of a specific legal term.
  • Email question about a book review publication.
  • Lottery lookups for regular patron.
  • Phone: looking to see if a particular movie is in.  The entertainment movies can not be placed on hold, so we get many calls for people checking on shelf status.
  • “Do you have X Box games?”
  • Study guides for middle school math.
  • Phone: book from storage sent to a branch.
  • Phone numbers of music stores at the local mall.
  • Study guides for math. (Yes, another one.)
  • Questions about issuing a card and what a person’s legal name is.
  • Phone: Actor’s date of birth.
  • Inebriated patron.
  • Help with PIN.
  • Email: How to place holds on specific magazine issues.
  • “Wicked”.
  • Where do I pick up my holds?
  • Email: Problem signing in for downloadable audiobooks.
  • Phone: Where is the library?
  • Phone: Question about whether a branch is open on weekends in the summer.
  • Where is the closest ATM?
  • [At 5 minutes to close]: I need a library card and this book…

letter layout

Everybody's Chicken Out Books!

*The views, opinions, and judgments expressed in this post are solely those of the author.

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library regulars

July 15, 2008 at 3:26 pm (blogging, library, mpow) ()

I noticed in my previous Library Day in the Life post that I referenced several of our regular patrons.  Now, don’t get me wrong – we have great patrons who come in regularly.  Wonderful people who are delightful and engaging.  They enjoy using the library’s services and we love to help them.

But many of our regular patrons are “difficult”, or just plain crazy.  Each has their own unique brand of crazy, or the specific things they do that drive us nuts.  I sympathize with mentally ill people and many of these people are just being themselves.  But it can make a trying day worse.  And many of these people take advantage of the situation and berate us as is their imagined right, since they are Taxpayers.

The abuse we, as public service representatives, endure can be hard to take.  I relaize this situation is not limited to libraries, but that doesn’t make it any easier when someone is screaming or cursing at you.

For example, our library is dealing with upcoming budget cuts which are quite severe.  Popular services have been cut or altered, and people are understandably upset.  But when airing these feelings on our library blog, many of them have pulled out all the stops — they are demanding, condescending, and downright rude.  The online nature of the conversation removes any civility they might have in person or on the phone.  I do understand their frustration with the changes.  But as the blog administrator, it can be hard to not feel personally attacked.

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working on Saturday – library day in the life

July 12, 2008 at 9:35 am (library, mpow) ()

My current position is working reference (in person, phone, and email) at the main reference desk at our central library.  I work night and weekend shifts – many people are horrified by my schedule, but it works perfectly for me.

This Saturday we have an ethnic costume symposium inside our library, and a summer festival parade outside.  It was a bit drizzly out, but not enough to keep the parade masses away.  This should be a busy day at the library.

Questions/issues I dealt with on the desk:

  • found a recent obituary on the newspaper’s Web site
  • updated one of the library blogs
  • provided directions to two out of town visitors
  • answered email reference about library hours,
  • helped a patron find a variety of books and audiobooks
  • showed a co-worker how to use our digital sender
  • got someone started researching their historic home
  • handed out prizes for our adult summer reading program
  • found where people can take construction materials to be recycled
  • assisted one of our regular mentally ill patrons with her endless quests
  • out-of-town phone listings
  • realized we had run out of computer class fliers and made some more
  • regular phone caller who requests phone listings for a specific city – sometimes the listings exist/are easy to find, other times it’s a wild goose chase (and she doesn’t want it to end)
  • added catalog links to one of our children’s booklists
  • yes, we do have Playstation 3 games
  • troubleshooting public scanner
  • advice for someone starting to use our downloadable audiobooks
  • uploaded pics to Flickr
  • tracked down some urban fiction titles
  • regular patron who always has questions about local government
  • travel books

Since the weather held, I visited one of the local farmers markets over my lunch hour. I got a fruit/tea smoothie, bought some cute pottery and two bouquets as a present.  I also visited the Art in the Park event, part of the summer festival.

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Library Day in the Life

July 9, 2008 at 7:04 pm (2.0, library, librarydayinthelife) ()

Friends on FriendFeed tipped me off to a Library Day in the Life blogging project. I’m excited to participate and also to read about the lives and jobs of other libraryland people. The project begins on Monday, July 14, which is my regular day off, so I’ll start my librarydayinthelife blogging on Tuesday. See you then!

librarian at work

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Fancy Owl, Standy Pants

October 20, 2007 at 3:58 pm (book, library, standypants)

I saw this book years ago when I worked in the children’s department and the image has stayed with me. Does the middle owl have the best owl pose ever, or what?

Owl by Mary Ling (DK)

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computer frustrations

October 16, 2007 at 12:43 pm (2.0, library, mpow, service)

We have 2.0 learning open labs three times at week at work: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 1:30 pm. Mondays we have coffee and snacks(!) in the staff training room, Tuesdays and Wednesdays we are in the public training room.

Working on the public computers has been enlightening. We realized there are several components of our learning 2.0 program that aren’t possible on our public computers the way they are set up. There are several glitches with Blogger in IE6 – the only browser available.


restrictions
Originally uploaded by webchicken

Right now I am retooling the blog signup information for wordpress.com so we can work around the Blogger problems. I am attempting to take screenshots for the tutorial and realized you can save the files from Paint onto the desktop, but you can’t create a desktop folder. It’s interesting working on these machines – I’m not used to the restraictions the patrons deal with, so this will help me help them.

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I work on the web

September 9, 2007 at 3:57 pm (flickr, library, teaching)


I work on the web
Originally uploaded by webchicken

I jumped in on the “I work on the web” meme on Flickr:

My name is Sara and I work on the web.

I graduated high school in 1995 knowing very little about computers or the Internet. Working as a public library assistant through undergrad exposed me not only to the usefulness of technology, but also to educated women who were not afraid to explore it.

This inspiration led me to earn a master’s degree in library science with a specialization in library technology management. I use the Internet every day to track down answers to a variety of questions.

I teach a Women’s Studies undergraduate course online and am proud to include online research skills as part of my curriculum. I supplement textbook readings with work on the web – text, audio, and video.

More and more people can use the Web to get around, but I like empowering people with the tools to search and evaluate. I feel most proud when helping someone "get it" and overcome their technophobia, if just for a minute.

I’m sometimes disappointed with the lack of vision in embracing technology (from administrators and educators). Unless we start doing a better job of teaching information literacy, this will only get worse.

PS – I love hand-coding HTML. I’m addicted to Flickr.

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improvement

August 30, 2007 at 1:31 pm (library, mpow, teaching, work)

I feel like I am getting better at teaching every semester. I learn ways to tweak the assignments for the results I’m looking for, find material that helps illustrate a point, and how to make the class more organized – both for the students and for me! I’ve just agreed to possibly teach through fall 08.

I am also really pleased with the development of my “day job” (regular job? real job?) at the library. I have been fortunate over my tenure here to have bosses who support me, and allow me to develop my positions according to what I think needs to be done. Working with patrons and technology has always been interesting to me, and I’ve been able to utilize my passions for these in each of my positions. My current job is a wonderful fit – great hours (with flexibility), fantastic boss!, varied coworkers, and I get to manage the desk. There are no rules about the department since it’s brand new and I enjoy making things work as smoothly as possible.

I just wish I had more time for one-on-one training day-to-day with my co-workers. Though I will get plenty of that starting in September when we roll out our 2.0 curriculum, I’ll be staffing an open lab twice a week to work with people and answer questions.

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Online events

July 31, 2007 at 3:24 pm (2.0, library, mpow)

We are playing with 2.0 online event calendars. I’d like to track my experiences with them here.

Eventful.com

  • Easy to create events
  • Easy to repeat most events (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly); however, if they don’t follow a specific pattern, there is no way to repeat
  • “900 Library Plaza” is not recognized by any of the map services (I’ve attempted to put a stop gap in place and add new map links to 900 Webster Street.)
  • Lists “Who No performers specified”, but doesn’t give any place to indicate who the performers are!
  • Allows lots of HTML, hyperlinks (to our site, catalog, etc.), and pictures!
  • Allows unlimited tags – we can use these to apply specific searches for “acpl dupont adults” or “acpl book club” and link to the latest X events.
  • No way to see my (previously used) tags, though – that would rock
  • Can create “stickers” to use on blogs/Web pages.
  • Can save as calendar (each agency could create/print their own, if desired).
  • Response time is a little slow sometimes
  • I have twice had an error that would not correct even after several attempts. Once the wrong location was showing, the other issue was a misspelled word. I repeatedly fixed the mistake, saved, and… still there.
  • When editing an event that repeats it switches to the first repeat option (each X day), even if previously it had been set up as on the (first Sunday). So any time you correct something in any part of the event, you must reset how the event repeats. Lame.

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