A Day in the Life – Take Two

day in the life: and the colored girls sang do...
Image by emdot via Flickr

The 2nd Annual Library Day in the Life started today. Same rules apply – “whether you are a librarian or library worker of any kind, help us share and learn about the joys and challenges of working in a library.” So after a full day of work, walking of the dogs, mowing part of our 2 acres, fixing dinner and cleaning up I finally sat down to watch “The Hunting Party” episode of  season two of Lost while I put my notes into a blog post.

Monday July 27, 2009

Got to work just before 7:30 am to find that I wasn’t the only early bird this morning.  Julian Clark (who is also participating in this via Twitter – @julian2) was in before me and already hard at work.

  • Swapped out the backup tapes and exchanged last week’s set for the new set for both the Horizon and the Authority Works servers.
  • Put a new sheet up for the server room temperature sheet (librarian in charge has to record the temp once a day to ensure the servers stay cool)
  • Unforward the helpdesk phone line (gets forward after hours to one of IT’s cell phones)
  • Performed the morning duties for Monday
  • Headed to Staff Lounge to get a mug full of ice for my homemade green tea with lime
  • Settled into my desk – logged into both my Ubuntu and Windows machines
  • Checked voice mail – one call from the Head of Collection Services in response to a question about what we do when titles are no longer available from OverDrive
  • Checked email (both work and Gmail)
  • Checked to see if there any pending helpdesk tickets to assign (luckily there were none)
  • Using Twirl I Twittered about Library Day in the Life (smiled when armylibrarian retweeted my tweet about Library Day in the Life)
  • Sent email (per Central Library Manager’s request) to rest of the Howard County Library signage committee about the cool picture I found of Seattle Public Library’s call no. floor mats
  • Checked Flickr, Facebook and Twitter and rss feeds (social|median and RWW)
  • Dugg a couple of worthy articles
  • Updated Online Request a title for your bookclub form on library’s web site
  • Reviewed Si fStaff Intranet) for submissions that may need to be published  and cleaned up expired announcements
  • Went to our Miller Branch to take the last Library101 photos
  • Got back to Central Library about 15 minutes after we had opened (due to budget restrictions we are now opening at 10 am instead of 9 am) and got one of the few remaining parking spaces (we are loved!)
  • Worked on email bouncebacks notices (always a lot after the weekend) – remove the address from customer’s account, put block on the account asking for an updated email address
  • Responded to email from the Executive Director and CEO about how to get an important presentation to the architects before the 1pm meeting
  • Took call from librarian at the main information desk – problem with receipt printer and trapping hold – conflict between the printer and keyboard
  • Just got back to desk when the fiction desk called with a problem – not sure what happened as they said they couldn’t trap hold but when I was there had no problem (didn’t hear anything more from them about this issue)
  • Queued up several Tweets for the library’s official Twitter account – @HoCo_Library
  • Email to head of collection services about removing titles from catalog that aren’t part of Overdrive anymore.
  • Closed 2 helpdesk tickets regarding customer question and error message with OverDrive – one could have been found by looking through the help section
  • Finally some lunch and my guilty pleasure of playing Bejeweled Blitz on Faceboo
  • Answered IM question from librarian about OpenOffice and adding page numbers.   Found answer by Googling – gee, why didn’t the librarian do that?
  • Wrote another Tweet for the library’s official account
  • Edited and uploaded images I took at Miller Branch for Library101 video project
  • Wrote post for Open Source blog – waiting review
  • Sent email to staff that had pictures taken for library101 w/link to Flickr
  • Resized library101 images and uploaded to facebook
  • Updated email alias and closed helpdesk ticket – didn’t need to update – realized I forgot to update the mailing list (not just the group in Deksnow)
  • Worked on some AOL bounced backs – people forget that they sign up for email notices from the library then they mark us as spam
  • Closed another helpdesk ticket about OverDrive – seems like the problems come in batches
  • Fixed email mailing list so all names display on staff intranet
  • Investigated how we managed to have Maryland spelled incorrectly on one of our PAC screensavers for the last couple of yrs.
  • Surfing web sites to get ideas for navigation for our new staff intranet – using stumbleupon

After 3:30 pm so it’s time to go home.  WHEW, what a day.

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A Day in the Life

Day 1 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Monday January 26, 2009

7:15 – arrive at work – disarm alarm, unlock elevator and open office. Remove tapes, clean tape drives (on both Horizon server and AuthorityWorks server) insert new tapes.

8:00 – perform morning task such as checking our catalog (login, searching and requesting working), making sure Day End process finished correctly as well as several other processes, checking several server logs, making sure Zserver connects to Marina (our ILL for the state), verify that telephony system is working

8:15 – check email, Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter and RSS feeds.

8:30 – discuss current LOST theories with 2 of my co-workers.

9:30 – investigated extra white spacing in our Highly Recommend blog. Part of the problem is code we had added that previously had to be there to keep 2 images from bleeding over into next post. But still the problem exists so something in the WordPress code will have to be looked at.

9:45 – fought with Nokia N800 software update

10:34 – finally updated Nokia N800 and setup bluetooth for phone (although it wanted to set it up with my co-worker’s blackberry instead – not sure he’d like that idea)

10:37 – started one of my Grooveshark playlists and went through bounced back emails (from our pre-overdue, overdue and hold notices), removed emails from Horizon database and made note on customer’s accounts.

11:15 – planned Picasa training for Library Associate Training Institute students since we aren’t a Microsoft shop and we can’t use Photostory3.

11:20 – began learning Picasa Web Albums for training I’ll be giving

11:35 – discussed with one of the LATI folks just what exactly they are going to be doing to decide if Picasa, Wink or Impress will suit their needs – seems like Wink might work best for some but others will need Picasa

12:15 – LUNCH!

12:45 – work on CIL09 presentation slides which are due to my co-presenters by end of the week

1:18 – struggling to find CC images on Flickr that I can use for my CIL09 presentation. Even contacted CC Guru, Michael Sauers, to verify which photos I could and couldn’t use. Frustrated because I find a perfect image – only hope is contacting the owner and seeing if they’ll grant me permission to use it in my presentation.  *Contacted owner and they agreed to let me use it in the presentation – WHOO HOO!

3:15 – off to take my son to get his high school senior portrait taken

Ethel Tofflemier is Out of a Job

According to the Buffalo News, QRS Music Technologies has produced the last player piano.   Thought this article was timely considering that I got, and recently watched, The Music Man on DVD for Christmas.   I don’t know if it is because the music is so singable, or that Robert Preston and Shirley Jones do such a great job in their roles or is it because of Marianne, Madame Librarian but this classic has ranked as one of my top 10 musicals of all time.  So I guess, Ethel you’ll have to find something else to do in River City, Iowa.

You Give Librarian a Bad Name

*shudder*  Stumbled upon this after reading on the BBC News about the Norwegian’s knighting a penguin – SIR Nils Olav if you please (yeah, we Linux folks love anything to do with penguins).

I dislike the word/title/name Librarian being used to describe that creep (not the penguin but the pedophile).  What he was doing demeans, disgraces the noble profession and I don’t like him being called a “librarian” even if the word was in quotes.  Think I’ll stick with my penguin stories.

Breaking the stereotype

While surfing my “friends” profiles on Facebook I noticed a group I hadn’t come upon yet – Library Workers are the Best. One of the posts on this group’s page was titled “The Best Nutters are in…” This brought me back to my first day of work at the library – February 1, 1980.

My Mother had taken me kicking and screaming to apply for a job at the library. “I don’t want to work there all the nerds, geeks, losers (fill in whatever was the correct term used in the 80’s).” I was convinced that the old librarian stereotype still existed. But I went, I interviewed and amazingly enough accepted the job when they called to offer me it. Hey, it beat working in McDonald’s. Still when I walked into the Long Reach branch of Howard County Library I felt that I’d be dealing with the outcasts of society. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I walked into work to find the senior class clown working at the same branch. And 25 years later nothing has changed.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the best things about where I work IS the people. What I mean is the old stereotype that I had grown up with doesn’t exist and for that I am grateful. I can’t imagine working with a more nutty, funny, wacky, frustrating, endearing, kind bunch of people. Not one of them fits the stereotype of yesteryear. No buns, no half-glasses sitting down low on the nose, heck no one even shushes anyone anymore.

Now the trick is convincing others who don’t work in libraries to see past that stereotype. I still get “that” reaction from people I’ve never met when you tell them where you work. I’d love to take those people to Computers in Libraries or other library conventions just to show them how long gone those old stereotypes are.

Librarian – definition please

I entered into an interesting conversation with Greg Schwartz because of a sentence in my “About” page. I describe myself as not being a librarian by some people’s definition. What I mean is that I don’t have a MLS. However, if we go by the definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary (a specialist in the care or management of a library) then some might consider what I’ve done for the last 25 years makes me a librarian.

One could argue that a piece of paper does not a librarian make. I don’t mean that a degree lacks value but maybe it should have a statue of limitations. Does a degree from 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years ago still have the same value today? Has our industry not grown and changed by leaps in bounds lately? How could something you learned 20 years ago in college even begin to apply to today’s library? Doesn’t real life experience on the job teach you so much more than any class room?

Keep in mind that I am a trainer. I love to teach. I love seeing someone have an “ah-ha!” moment. I am a life long learner myself. I firmly believe the day I stop learning from life, work, people, the universe is the day I die. I’m not trying to devalue any educator anywhere. I’m not saying that college or any kind of formal training doesn’t have it’s place but I’d just like to see real life experience get the same level of respect.

If real life experience of 25 years in customer service/circulation services, in Interlibrary Loan, in Automation and now with Information Technology counts for anything….maybe Greg is right, I am a Librarian.