Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Library Day in the Life: July 22, 2008

Today I am at Nix branch, the second branch of two that my manager manages. Some of the staff circulate around, some stay put. I circulate.

Supposedly I am being groomed to take over my own branch, one of the Gates modulars. I look forward to this. No more circulating.

8:30: Get dropped off by my husband at a coffeebar close to the branch. We carpool into work together. I need my iced coffee and pastry or I can't function.

8:45: My branch manager stops by for his coffee too.

9:00: Get into work and start doing the usual pre-opening things: the holds report, pulling the expired holds, general cleaning and tidying up.

10:00: Open up the library. The usual Internet crowd arrives and starts signing up for the computers.

10:30: The branch run arrives and we start checking in the delivered items, tagging them up for holds or shelving them as required.

11:15: I get a call from one of the branch managers. Her Summer Reading performer never showed up -- oh no! One of my particular nightmares these days. If you have a full house of patrons and no performer, it can be very embarrassing. I start calling and emailing the performer, trying to figure out what's going on.

Continue serving patrons while working the phones. It's a little chaotic -- the queue display for the Internet computers is down for some mysertious reason, so the "Innanet" crowd keeps clamoring at the desk for their times. We have to yell out the names as they come up -- not the most serene atmosphere for a library.

12:00: No luck on finding the errant performer. Luckily only one family showed up for the program, so it could have been a lot worse. I call the branch head and let her know the latest, and then flee to lunch.

1:00: I look through my old email correspondence, and begin to get a glimmer that this scheduling error with the performer may be my fault. Damnit! I swear I TRIPLE-CHECKED that programming schedule! Well, these things happen. No point in rescheduling it now, so close to the end of Summer Reading.

2:00: More hassles! I get a call from one of my summer reading committee members, telling me that the PR flyer announcing the Summer Reading Wrap Party has a major typo in it. The times are wrong. This is bad. I inform all the branch heads and committee members right away. Hopefully we can get some new ones printed up.

2:30: I go through and manually correct all my Wrap Party flyers. My branch manger laughs at me for this, but I hate wasting all that paper. It's hard to live green in an organization that chews through as much excess paper as a public library.

3:00: Man, I'm tired. All the rest of the Uptown branches have been unusually busy since Latter branch has been closed. Latter was by far the busiest branch since the hurricane, the second busiest site after Main Library. We are getting their spillover.

It's getting hotter and hotter at the branch as the old air conditioner wheezes under the full assault of a New Orleans summer. Come on, five o'clock.

We're making a lot of new library cards. Still amazing to me that people are moving *into* New Orleans, what with all the dysfunctions. A lot of them are people moving home after being displaced. That is a triumph. I am very happy when I make one of those cards.

4:30: Pre-closing announcement. People are still lining up to you use the computers, even though they'll only get ten minutes.

4:45: PCs automatically log themselves off for the night. Nice change from having to coax patrons off and physically lock up the computers at Mid-City.

4:58: We stare and stare at the one patron, still on the Wi-Fi on her laptop, who refuses to leave. Are we going to have to frogmarch her out of here?

4:59: She finally leaves. The staring worked.

5:00: Lockup and set the alarm.

5:05: Workon this blog post while I wait for my husband to come pick me up.


Anonymous said...

Why oh why did they close Latter! It was the best place to have a public library!

K2.0 said...

The air conditioning is broken. It'll be open again in a couple weeks, once they fix it.