I am a late-comer to the “Day in the Life of a Librarian” theme running through Librariana lately, and I’m not yet officially a librarian but a library student. Nevertheless, there were a few reasons I wanted to chime in:
1. For all the folks who don’t know why we go to school for this.
2. For all the folks in library school who have really boring library student jobs — have hope!
3. For all the folks interested in “library stuff” but not necessarily the idea of working in a “library”… have hope!
I have two of the best jobs a library student like me could ever want. For starters, I work for an office (the Mortenson Center) that handles international library programs — helping librarians from all over the world learn from each other, increase their professional skills, and pass the knowledge along to their colleagues at home. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this job. I never sit at a “service desk” or catalog items or do anything traditionally library-like, yet I’m working with librarians every day from all walks of life. My other job is working with the university library’s LibGuides team – lots of training, pushing technology to see how much it can do, and idea recycling (search and share).
So… this week in my life:
Monday started at a storage unit. The Mortenson Center hosts visiting librarians from other countries each year for a couple months to several months. The librarians usually stay in campus residences, which means they need some basic house things while they’re here. We keep a few things for them in an un-air-conditioned, dusty, crowded storage unit. And Monday was one of the hottest, most humid days of the year. Three of us worked in there for a few hours, mostly throwing away old, worn-out things. I had to leave before my poor co-workers so I could finish up a training outline for a meeting that afternoon.
The training is for LibGuides, and we want to focus on demonstrating how LibGuides allows for a more dynamic, interactive apporach to the tired old static subject guide. To that end, I’ve been collecting good examples from other institutions.
The rest of the day was spent in a frenzy of preparation for several meetings on Tuesday.
Tuesday was a frenzy. I started out early at the Center finishing some demonstration pieces for a presentation on Web 2.0 tools for the office. Then I dashed off to give the LibGuides training. I love training librarians! They ask wonderful questions, they think about things from lots of amazing angles, and they’re friendly to boot. I came away from the session with several notes for things to add to the next session. Sometimes giving a training session like that reminds me of Eddie Izzard’s stand-up comedy — the way he pretends to write notes to himself about jokes that don’t work. Each training session shows me what needs to be fine-tuned for the next one. I really do write notes to myself.
I went straight from that to a scheduling meeting for this Fall’s international librarian program. We’re going to have a BIG group this year and with travel costs going up, we’re trying to make every penny stretch. Details, details, details! Truly well-organized events are all about the details, as my bosses say. Five of us sit around a table for two hours with calendars and lists spread out in front of us, like a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. We have to line up everything just right — the speakers, the room reservations, the catering, the transportation, the hand outs, the paperwork, the fees, and so on. Fortunately, we have an incredible little family of staff in the office and everyone attacks their part of the puzzle with gusto. Probably a big reason I love my job is the fact that I work with wonderful people.
Once the scheduling stuff was done, I gave a very brief overview of some online tools we could use for productivity in the office. I focused on free tools that would allow for plenty of collaboration and – of course – Google products were the stars of the show. I did a quick look at Google Reader’s “share” tools and showed how we could have a folder just for all the search alerts on our office name — from Blog Search, News, and the Web. From there I brought up Google Docs and had an example of a presentation we’d been working on already uploaded. I also went through Gmail’s filters and labels, but had to rush through it so I don’t know if that was actually helpful at all. The presentation ended with Google Calendar, which is the most intriguing and controversial tool for our office. On one hand, half the staff have to use Oracle because the rest of the library uses Oracle. On the other hand, we will eventually want our visitors to be able to access events on the calendar and they will not have Oracle accounts, nor do the temporary staff in the office (such as a student like me). Another benefit of Google Calendar is the “Discuss” function, which would allow us to leave comments on a particular event as the various elements are confirmed (room, meals, speaker). This would give us a mini-history on the event that all of us could see and keep track of.
The conclustion was to start using Google Calendar for the program events. The staff using Oracle will continue using Oracle for their own meetings and individual schedules, but will check on the Google Calendar to see how the program events are shaping up.
Wednesday and Thursday to follow.
To see some other interesting library people do their thing (in addition to the wiki) check out: