This week I’m blogging alongside others who are documenting their work days. This time, the object for me is less about self-discovery than about illuminating the umpteen things that never made it into the official job description, but without which you couldn’t get your job done. The self-discovery happened last time, and I resolved never again to get so enmeshed in the minutiae of “process” that I overlooked the real reason I’m working: to make it easier for our patrons to find and get the information they seek.
So. I’m a combo e-resources and reference librarian, and I work in the central branch of a large library system. The e-resources part is a system-wide responsibility. The reference part involves both personal service at the library’s various reference desks, and also management of the centralized, system-wide telephone reference service.
On to Day 1. Tuesday is the first day of my work week, and it begins for me at 11 a.m. I check the reference desk schedule first thing, because the library is already open. I see I have no desk assignments until 1 p.m., but there’s a conflict at 3: I have a meeting with Boss, but am scheduled in Kids’ Place. I negotiate a swap with a colleague. Next, comes the weekend’s collection of e-mail and voice-mail – and follow-up from the sneak peek I got yesterday evening. I work a little bit on my next Audiobook Bulletin, which will be automatically published on August 2, ready or not. I take a short break to have a half sandwich at noon, and then run down to admin to pick up an August bus pass.
At 1 I have my first telephone reference shift. I get the Skid Row caller, who called a half-dozen times last week with the same question: what are the boundaries of Skid Row in Los Angeles? Today, the caller needs the address and cross streets of a business anywhere in Skid Row, because the cabbie won’t go there without an address, and also the names and addresses of the missions on the Row. Because of the number of callers in the queue, I get a callback phone number, which happens to be in Los Angeles. Since I am hundreds of miles away in Sacramento, I enquire politely whether Los Angeles Public has been consulted, since this is such a local question … it hasn’t … so I provide their reference number and move on to the other callers. When I am done on the phones, I will look up a business in Skid Row and get back to the caller. Caller agrees to call LAPL about the missions.
2:00 – an hour in Kids’ Place with a new librarian shadowing me. Between issuing the bathroom keys, monitoring the kids’ Internet computers and finding some “really scary” books for a youngster,we discuss blogging and I introduce him to the Library Day In the Life Wiki.
3:00 – meeting with Bosses about our the text of the messages on our main system phone number. Too many calls appear to get misdirected to other departments, and we take a look at last month’s call report and adjust the greeting a bit. We need to check the branch recordings for accuracy and once that’s done, we will re-record the main greeting.
3:30 – I’ve identified a business in Skid Row and call the patron, who is staying in a motel near LA, with the info.
5:00 Three hours on the phones. We have a centralized telephone reference desk, and staff from Central library, both librarians and paraprofessionals, handle calls for all our branches. We provide hours, place holds, reset PINs, explain how to manage accounts online, and provide information about library programs. After 6, the number of calls drops off, and I use the slack time to work some more on the Audiobook Bulletin.
6:00 I log in to My Info Quest, a pilot text reference service that launched last week. My two hour shift coincides nicely with Telephone Reference and I multi-task happily until we close at 8:00. Few callers, zero txt questions tonight. Shut down computers, and head home to blog.