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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Library Day in the Life

Now this I can do:

A Library Day in the Life

Describe my day as a librarian for LIS students and those strange others who might be interested.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

8:40 AM. Get to work at Mid-City Branch. Start making coffee. Lock myself outof the library when I go to the back hallway for water from the drinking fountain. SWELL. Going to be THAT kind of day.

8:50: Get the landlord to let me in.

9:00: Sort out some of the passes to the local Zoo which are one of our Summer Reading Club prizes, to go to the different branches. I am chair of the Summer Reading Program Committee this year. My co-workers arrive.

9:15: Coffee's done. Eat my breakfast.

9:20: Take out and set up the library's laptop PAC computers. Mid-City is a temporary library under the Gates Foundation/Solinet Gulf Coast Libraries Grant for post-Katrina recovery. A lot of our equipment is small and portable.

Branch run arrives: books returning home to us, or requested by our patrons. Today's run also includes a shipment of new DVDs and music CDs from Cataloging. We will check these in later. Send the Zoo passes out in the outgoing run.

9:30: Pull the morning's Holds Request list -- books requested by patrons around the system, to be held here or sent to the branches.

10:00: Open the library. People start linig up to use the computers.

10:15: Call one of our Summer Reading performers, a magician, and cancel the performance for next Monday at Latter Branch. The branch is closed since it's air conditioning is broken. We have been unsuccessful at finding alternate locations for library programming so far.

10:30: Call a local vendor and secure a donation of ice cream for the Summer Reading Finale Party on August 2.

10:45: Work on checking in the branch run materials while assisting patrons at the circulation desk. Field a call from my intern, who is late and anxious. No problem; she is doing outreach and riding public transportation. She'll get here when she gets here.

11:00: Check email; answer some emails about planning/programming for Summer Reading. Continue to assist patrons with circulation, reference and computer questions.

12:00: Shift off the desk for a co-worker. Shelve some books. Straighten up the materials for purchase on the Book Sale table.

1:00: Lunch. Intern has not arrived. I'm a little anxious now.

2:00: Back on the Circ desk. Between patrons, write up the minutes of the last Summer Reading Committee meeting. Remind my branch manager via email of my next committee meeting, and of the Summer Reading Finale Party, which I must attend.

3:00: Intern arrives. She ate lunch first. I set her to labeling up and checking in the new CDs that arrived.

The Circ desk becomes extremely busy, with many checkouts/ins and new patrons requesting library cards. I am not at a Circ computer, but help as I can, signing people up for computers and answering general ref questions.

When the rush ends, I have my bad momoent. This happens every Wednesday. Wednesday is the only night we are open late, and I work an 11-hour day. On most days, three o'clock equals two hours til quitting time! On Wednesdays -- five hours! Gah!

4:00: Fuss around and surf the biblioblogosphere while riding the Circ desk. Set my intern to updating the computerized statictics for the Summer Reading participants at the branch. Answer some more emails about Summer Reading, the next committee meeting, and the Finale Party. Two kids come in and redeem their Summer Reading logs.

5:00 -- 5:15: Take a break before the bulk of the staff leaves at six.

5:15: Things get much slower after five. Chat with my coworkers. Winnow out my email inbox. Find the day in the life project and start typing.

6:15 Have to rein in a kid who's tearing books off the shelves like the Tsmanian Devil. My coworkers are men and leave me to deal with the kids, although I am no more a kid person than these bachelors are. Not too cool.

7:30: Make the "half hour til closing" announcement.

7:45: Take down the PAC laptops and lock them up for the night. Well, actually one of my coworkers does this while I "supervise." :-)

8:00: Run the last one or two diehards out and the library is closed!

Monday, July 14, 2008

NOLA bloggers think hard on names - NOLA.com

OK, I have got to get my blog on. I am not even mentioned in this article!

NOLA bloggers think hard on names - Living/Lagniappe - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com

Of course neither is Oyster or Loki or Jeff, so I guess I can live with it.