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Today was so disjointed for me.  As I previously stated, my commute to work is an hour and a quarter to an our and a half.  (In an area known for its 20 minute commutes, this is not the norm.)  I work in a library that is co central with another library in the neighboring county (about an hour away in a different direction). There was a system meeting at that library this morning.  So, I drove to my library in order to carpool to the other library.  I started my day by being in a car for about 2 1/2 hours.  At least we are having an unusually mild winter this year and there wasn’t any snow to deal with.

The meeting today was with a book vendor who was show casing the cataloging and processing services they could provide for our system.  It was interesting.  Call me a skeptic, but the thought of someone offering “collection development help” when they are not involved with your patrons everyday or even part of the community makes me a little nervous.  Right now it is just lists that suggest titles, but I feel that there is a potential there for nefarious and questionable practices there sometime in the future.  (Kind of like Amazon finally making their Kindle compatible with Overdrive but then finding out that they track what their users have read when using the public library check outs.)  No commitments or decisions were made, so we will see what the outcome is.

When I got back to work, I grabbed  a quick lunch at my desk while reading Library Journal.  I remembered half way through lunch that today was February 1st – the beginning of Library Lovers Month.  I have a box of bags to have the Circulation Desk hand out that state “I ❤ my Library”.  I set out with a handful of bags and was reminded that even though I wasn’t “officially” on Reference today, your Reference duties never end when you are a librarian.  I was stopped about three times before I got to the Circulation Desk with the bags.  The kids who were checking out books at the time when I brought the bags up were so excited to get a “special” library bag.

Today I also had to get books ready for delivery tomorrow.  Every Monday and Thursday a truck comes to pick up books that patrons have requested from other libraries and drop off books our patrons have requested or that are being returned from other libraries.  The truck usually gets there before we officially open in the morning, so we have all the boxes and bags packed on Wednesday nights.  We actually lend out a ton of material to other libraries.

We have a new videoconferencing unit that was part of the grant I am in charge of.  We haven’t been able to call out since they installed it in late December.  We have opened every port, allowed it through the firewall, etc.  Today the technician was suppose to come and check on it (finally!), but we received an e-mail that he had come down with the flu and had to reschedule.  (It took us weeks to get this appt. set up.)  So, we will see how soon he can make it and hopefully we will be able to use our new equipment soon.

One thing I can say for sure – working in a public library is never dull!


Today is day two of Library Day In the Life Round 8.  I started the day with a 3 1/2 hour Reference shift.  Reference shifts are always interesting.  My library is in the major city of the county and is surrounded by rural areas, a major university, a community college, and the state border.  So the questions run the gamut from basic to very scholarly.  In the  history of Olean it was a place where people would over winter before heading out west on the Allegheny river.  Also, it has a lot of oil history and there was mob activity during prohibition; it had the nickname of “Little Chicago” during that time.  Therefore, local history is also the source of many Reference transactions.

I am the director of our Public Computing Center.  We run classes and tutoring sessions.  We don’t have enough room to have a permanent teaching lab with the SMART board, so we have to set the lap up each time there is a class.  Today’s class was Organizing E-mail.  We have honed our skills that we can quickly set up and tear down the lab quickly.

While on the Reference Desk I entered names into the Winter Reading database.  Sign up for the program just started yesterday and we had 19 people signed up as of this morning.  Anyone who turns in a completed Winter Reading BINGO board will receive a prize along with an invitation to the Winter Reading party.  At that party we will have a drawing for a “Cozy Up and Read” basket.  I decided I am going to crochet an infinity scarf to include in the basket.  We are offering patrons a “Free” sticker for one space on the BINGO board if they fill out a short survey on the library.  The survey has questions about various services in the library and should give us some good feedback.

You never know what e-mail is going to bring when you are a librarian.  Today I received an e-mail that stated that I needed to make my reservations at the hotel in Geneva for a conference I have to go to at the end of April.  I start to call the number while I continue to read and there it is… “you will need to make a presentation to the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) program officer and be an available to answer any questions they may have.”  INSTANT HEADACHE.  I felt kind of ambushed.  I know, I have a few months to prepare it, but it still stresses me out.

Another job duty that I inherited is the Brown Bag Book Club.  We meet every 3rd Tuesday of the month to discuss a book.  I had the book list made up from Jan-June.  People have been asking for the July – Dec. list.  I read all the books before I put them on the list, so I was still trying to make decisions on what books I wanted to include.  Finally today, after many inquiries, I decided to just bite the bullet and make the list.

Right before I left, I made a quick visual tutorial for downloading eBooks to the Kindle.  The Kindle is different from other eReaders  and confusion seems to abound.  Hopefully this will make everything clearer.

My director and asst. director convinced me to go to a meeting with them tomorrow morning at System headquarters.  So, I will drive from my house to Olean (about a 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hour commute) to then get in a car and travel another hour or so to Jamestown, go to a meeting, and then travel another hour or so back to Olean.  Should be an interesting day.

Twice a year I participate in the Library Day in the Life Project.  Some years I exclusively use Twitter, but other years (like this one) I also blog and post pictures on Flickr.  The Library Day in the Life Project is designed to let library workers of all kinds share the joy and challenges of working in a library (while still maintaining patron privacy).  By sharing these experiences, I hope that others will have a fuller picture of what it is like to work in a library (it is NOT books and cats all the time).

A typical Monday schedule for me is working 10-6.  On Mondays I work on the Reference Desk from 3-6 which happens to be the busiest time for the Reference Desk and the Public Access Computers.  At our library many students as well as their tutors come to use the library right after school. Sometimes the wait time for our public computers can be up to 45 minutes.  Each patron is allowed 1 hour a day on the public computers and many patrons, not only young adults, choose the 3-6 period to use their 1 hour.

Even though today I felt like I was spinning my wheels, I did get a lot done when I think about it.  I am the director for our Public Computing Center – a BTOP project through an ARRA grant.  Also, at the end of last year we lost our Adult Programming librarian so I have also assumed that role.  On top of that I am the “techie” librarian and maintain all of our social networking sites.  I also am in charge of a nice chunk of the collection, including religion, medical, biography, literature, audiobooks, CDs, and video games. (I also have other Dewey sections such as Library Science, Social Groups, etc.)  I can tell you I am never without something to do.

Today consisted of responding to e-mails, suggesting a potential adult program to my director, updating the electronic sign and all the social media sites with Feburary’s calendar of event, sending out an e-mail blast reminding patrons that the Teen and Adult Winter Reading program started today and to sign up, ordering books and audiobooks, tracking grant related reference questions, working on my plan for the Technology Petting Zoo we are holding on February 25th, and of course my Reference Shift. Most popular category of Reference question right now? Taxes of course!

Since it is 2 in the morning and I have to get up in another 4 hours for work, I will leave it at that for Monday.  I will post later today after I work 9-5 with more details about my day.

And of course I had to add the obligatory cat picture:

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