A free day in the library
Earlier this week, I mentioned to one of my friends that I had a day coming up where my work diary was empty. This is a rare occurrence, as (even during July) the working week is liberally sprinkled with workshops, demonstrations, meetings and one-to-ones. When I mentioned this, my friend then asked me what I do on ‘empty’ days, particularly when most of the students are off on holidays. I expected to get at least one student ask for some help, but that didn’t happen. Here, though, are the things which filled my working day when the diary was empty:
Stock moving. We have two collections of books moving to our library over the summer, so we’re having to make space for them. To that end, everything else has been shifting around in the library, and on this particular day I helped to shift some of the history books. This particular work helped free up some space in a particularly squashed area of the library, but will also have the knock-on effect of freeing up some shelves for the collection of music scores which is coming our way.
Writing. Our library is involved with many of the local schools, offering access to the building as well as training in information skills to sixth form students. We give them lots of different handouts etc when they come, but we’d like to condense that down into one booklet. On this day, I worked on the page about choosing appropriate keywords to help in the search for information.
Web editing. I am one of the library’s team of web editors. I made a number of small tweaks to the web site, including correcting a few rogue spellings, adding a link to a useful external website and tidying up some of the information on borrowing books. I also made some changes to my subject guide pages – some factual updates and an attempt to integrate my Twitter feed in a visually pleasing manner. Unfortunately, I have discovered that my method for doing the latter is not effective on small screens. Back to the drawing board…
Searching. I have been involved with a project to introduce reading lists management software to the campus. The discussions I have had with academics and fellow librarians have made me curious about the impact of reading lists in general. I therefore spent a small amount of time trying to locate any research which may have been done in this area. Initial findings suggest that not a lot has been written on the topic, but I did find some interesting articles to read.
Updating. I also updated several reading lists using said software. The intention of the project is to hand responsibility for reading lists over to academics, but we’re in a transition phase, so I’m still doing bits and pieces. Thankfully, it takes mere seconds to add items to lists (or remove them from lists, for that matter).
Line managing. I approved a leave request from one of the three people I line manage.
Checking. An academic in the process of revalidation for one of her courses sent a set of reading lists through to be checked, in order to see which items are currently available through the library at my campus, another campus or electronically. I was able to complete this by the end of the day, though checking to see what copies of the missing books would cost had to wait until two days later. Checking these lists also allowed me to practice use of a new resource discovery system – I had previously been using it primarily to locate electronic material. Confusingly, these lists will not tie up with the reading lists project – I work for three universities at once, and only one of them has the reading lists management software.
Preparing. Various bits of preparation needed to be done. I finalised my travel arrangements for a visit to a different campus the next day, along with what I was supposed to be doing when I got there. I discussed the content of a training session (to be held in two days time – just a little bit of time pressure there!) with an academic. And I added the dates of some demonstrations and workshops to my diary. These were for September and October, but I already have numerous dates booked in for 2014.
Quite a full day, with a variety of tasks. There is always a lot to do in my job, even when things are supposedly ‘quiet’. I wasn’t able to remove much from my to-do list (which somehow ended up longer at the end of the week than it had been at the beginning of the week), but I still felt that the day was a productive one. And although I always say that the best bit of my job is face-to-face work with students, it was still an interesting day. So there we have it. That’s what the Singing Librarian does when there’s nothing in his diary. I can be fairly sure, though, that the next clear day will be filled with an entirely different selection of activities.