ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

Monday: A Day in the Life of a Librarian (who is on summer break) July 26, 2011

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 4:43 am

I’ve participated in each round of Library Day in the Life so far, so when I realized I wouldn’t be working during this one I was really sad, but then I decided to go ahead and participate anyway, even though I tend not to use this as a personal space. Hopefully it will still fill the intended purpose of sharing what life can be like as a librarian. Some of us have summer breaks!

In May I moved from Austin to Minneapolis with my partner. I won’t be starting at Normandale Community College until August, so we decided this would be the year we could finally go to GenCon. (He’s been before, but I haven’t.) We also decided that would make a good honeymoon, so let’s set the wedding for just before then. So this week I am at my parents’ in Pennsylvania helping to prepare.

Today I enjoyed my favorite salt bagels for breakfast while lounging around with my mom and dad. Then we drove the 45 minutes in to town to stop at Costco (we’re bad with crowds, so this was stressful), the mall (my mom was just tickled pink with the makeup tutorial we got at Sephora), and Whole Foods to get various supplies for the party/reception which we’ll have at their house.

We got home and all retreated to our rooms for an hour to rest and recover from all the activity.

The evening was full of  dinner, fruit, drawing arrow signs and the the Sy-Fy network.


Thursday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian January 27, 2011

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 11:05 pm

First thing in the door is political personality managing stuff that I’m not going to go into here, but I think this kind of training should have been the bulk of that required management class I had to take in grad school. I’m naturally fairly analytical and thick skinned, so I sometimes have to have subtleties of situations pointed out to me and then scramble to keep everyone happy.

Next up my co-presenter for tomorrow shows up and we go over our slides and arrangements for getting there tomorrow. Get an email from the organizer of our session with some more logistics and her phone number.

Get a call from a colleague about a book that could go in either of our fund areas. Sounds like we might both get a few copies.

A coworker stops in with a question about our new email software and I help her out.

I make the changes to the presentation that we talked about during our prep (just adding a slide and looking up a statistic comparison). Then I download from gdocs to ppt because we won’t have internet. I tweak the presentation and save again to ppt, pptx, odp, and pdf. I look up an ECAR comparison so I’ll have it handy. I print my speaker notes for the handful of pages I want to remember specific points for. I put the gdoc up on this site. I make a note to reread my article on the project so my favorite main points will be fresh in my mind. I pack up my business cards to take tomorrow.


Place an order for a faculty request and another to replace two damaged dvds. That turns into a mystery since I had been told the dvds don’t play, but it seems they do (at least on a computer). Apparently a patron had declared them lost, stripped all the ACC barcodes and stickers, then returned them to the book drop. I hand them off to our Senior Library Assistant to check them in our dvd player. He reports back that they seem to play fine. They’re good titles, so I decide to keep them for our campus and order new for the campus that asked me to get them replacements.

Read some book review emails.

Pose for a staff picture.

Ref Desk!

Questions include: textbooks, history 1301 book report, helping with the photocopier, directing students to the reserves area, helping someone copy/paste from word to blackboard – this one was particularly interesting because the teacher had explicitly stated margins and font size, but then asked them to copy/paste into a textbox when uploading the file would have been an option. Help someone with their unofficial transcript – the system doesn’t include the student’s name in the output screen, but it does show their student ID, so I suggested they copy their student ID card into the blank space on the transcript and circle the matching ID numbers.

Highlight moment – I hand a student a copy the History 1301 book report book spreadsheet. “Did you do this yourself?” “I had help.” “Did anyone ask you to do this?” “No.” “Did you get a high five?” “No.”  Then he gives me a high five.

Work on completing the changes to the report I started yesterday. Read my listserv emails. Finalized the changes to the report and sent it off for feedback. Back in the office. Review the staff photos and do some cropping and retouching and send out the changes for voting.

Sent out emails about: procedures for creating our profiles for receiving selection carts from our book vendor, where on the website the report I’ve been working on should be posted, what to do with some damaged books I was asked about, and my lunch choice for the tutoring conference I’m presenting at.

Spend the last little bit of the day working on purchasing in one of my fund areas.

Tomorrow I probably won’t post since I’ll be in San Antonio presenting.


Wednesday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian

Filed under: meme,Uncategorized — ellie @ 12:07 am

Today is my long day on the reference desk (10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm). Before I get on the desk, I send off a quick email to our Baker & Taylor rep, still trying to deal with the issue from yesterday. I also quick call a colleague that had asked me to, to talk about a presentation to faculty, but she’s not in.

On the desk questions include: textbooks, where are the printers, can I print, need a book for history 1301 book report, need info on Julius Caesar – both the person and the play, and fetched books to send to other campuses. Sometimes if the textbook they want is for English, we can help them find the short story they need to read either in one of our other collections or online.

And background tasks include: email, editing the draft of yesterday’s minutes after questions from someone who had to leave early, printing out copies of the annotated History 1301 reading list that shows which ones we have copies of at my campus, schedule a meeting with my co-presenter to go over our talk, fill out my time sheet and travel reimbursement forms, worked on scheduling a book repair training for circulation staff, saw that the college transfer book display was low again and added some more books.


Back in the office I: Create the new poll for voting for the topic for our next discussion forum and email reference librarians. Updated staff development calendar of events. Work on feedback form of what we like and don’t like about our campus library for new library planning team.

Back on ref. with more of the types of questions above.

In between questions I: Make the changes that the dean requested to my report on our tech survey. Research CC licenses for the report. Finalize that training I’ve been working on coordinating.


Tuesday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian January 26, 2011

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 2:06 am

In early today, covering a ref shift, then I’ll have my ref shift, then I’ll drive off for a meeting that will last all afternoon. During the ref shift I hope to work on the slides for a presentation I’m giving on Friday.

The meeting is the Team Leaders and Facilitators meeting. Everyone who is a team leader or a facilitator (which is nearly everyone) gets together once a month with the dean to update each other on various projects. I usually take the minutes and post them to our internal wiki, so I quick get that page set up now that I’m thinking about it. I take my little netbook, which is fine for typing, but not great for formatting.

I get an email from our Baker & Taylor rep telling me they physically can’t do something that I know they can do (because they’re already doing it for me) and do my best to explain, but am pretty sure in trying to be detailed and explicit that I also come off as a snot. I should probably have called instead of emailed so I could have included tone of voice to balance out the message, but I hate the phone and I’m on the desk.

Slow morning on the desk so far. 45 minutes in and I had 2 textbook requests and 1 where are the printers.

Desk picked up after about 10am. Rushed off to lunch at noon and then off to the meeting. Did manage to get my slides finished and shared with my co-presenter.


Monday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian January 24, 2011

Filed under: meme,Uncategorized — ellie @ 10:54 pm

Today is the first day that our textbook collection is available to all students. Last week and the week before, students needed a signed form from Student Services. There’s usually a line of about 20 people at my campus, which is one of the smaller ones. The campus that houses the textbook collection has had lines of over 100 students waiting. Today we only had 3. But then they rolled in after we opened and I spent the morning calling the campus that houses the collection and putting books on hold. We had a little assembly line going this year. Circulation checked to make sure the students’ records were clear and gave them the handout on how to find their list of textbooks along with the form we have them fill out. My officemate verified whether we had any copies of each title and I placed the calls. I think it went pretty well, but we did have to run to ask questions rather than have the student right in front of us.

That was 7:30-9:30 pretty heavily the only thing I was working on. Sometime it slowed enough I could catch up on some email.

A faculty member in one of my collection areas sent me her assignments for this semester along with a thank you for the subject guide. That always makes me smile. Another librarian sent me an email asking if it was ok to change the codes on two books from her area to mine and I agreed. There was an email from an adjunct saying we were out of one of the types of flyers we keep at the ref desk, so I printed off a master and left it with our administrative assistant to make some more copies. I also replied to a thank you email for the new Technology Toolbox guide I helped with.

Then I would have gone out the ref desk, but my office mate isn’t feeling well so we switch hours so she can go home earlier. (She wouldn’t just go home, I tried.)

With my newfound office time I edit the draft report of our Student Library & Technology Use Environmental Scan. One of our librarians used to be a copy editor and graciously lent us her services.

But first I check my email and send out replies to a request for me to schedule book repair training for our new circulation staff. We opened a new campus last semester and also had some staff retire and some move on to grad school and other endeavors, so we have a lot of new hires at the moment. As chair of the Staff Development Team, I’m in charge of coordinating trainings.

Worked on the report for awhile, called the editor for a clarification, worked some more. Got interrupted by a phone call from a new colleague with some questions about our ordering software and fund tracking system. I was able to explain all our terms (Appropriation, Expenditure, Encumbrance, Free Balance, Cash Balance) and that the ordering  carts did not automatically update immediately into the Millennium financial status module.

Finished off the new draft and sent it out to the team and higher ups.

Update the white board with my hours for this week.

Continue to be distressed that TeuxDeux seems to be down, so I don’t have my to do list. Make a mental note to transfer those notes into Google Tasks if the site comes back up. (Our school just transfered to Google Apps for Education.)

Took a break to read some listserv emails.


Sent off a copy of a printing poster I designed to our PR Facilitator. She’s working on getting signage consistent among all 8 campuses and I’m hoping to help steer us to more positive language. We’re big on the big red no symbol right now.

Ref desk!

First things first, I wipe down everything with disinfectant since I’m taking over for my colleague who is now going home sick. Questions include: textbooks, textbooks and more textbooks, helping students set up their email accounts, helping students enlarge on the copier, helping students get on the wireless, explaining that Blackboard doesn’t work with IE, try Firefox, and helping students find leisure reading. It’s only the second week of classes, so we won’t get the research questions for a while yet.

In between questions I read the assignments the faculty member emailed me earlier, answer a bunch of chat reference hang ups, rejoice that TeuxDeux is up, notice that my staff pick has been taken and select another one, notice one of our displays (applying to college) is decimated and select more books for it, work on tweaking the “first look custom profile” from Baker and Taylor for one of my fund areas, mostly adding lots more BISAC codes, especially in self-help since it’s a common assignment to review a reputable self-help book, and work on ordering for one of my subject areas.


Tuesday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian July 27, 2010

Filed under: meme,Uncategorized — ellie @ 11:02 pm

First thing in the door and we have a broken DVD that circulation wants to know what to do with. We checked the code and it was purchased from Radio-TV-Film funds, which is me, so I looked into a replacement (which took awhile since it was a bit obscure) and sent an email to acquisitions to see if we could squeeze it in to this year or if I have to wait for the new fiscal year.

Then on to morning email. More discussion of the appropriate fund to be in charge of witchcraft. Forwarded the summer course data (number of sections of each course offered at each of our 7 campuses and multiple extension sites) to all the bibliographers.

Looked over some book donations, tough call on one that seemed to me to be low on quality and high on cheese, very popular and open for debate on the harmful/dangerous scale. Turns out we had a copy stolen from our McNaughton collection, so I went ahead and added it as a replacement.

Sent the results of our discussion forum vote to all the full time reference librarians. We had been having monthly meetings on a Friday morning on various topics and have voted to continue these for the coming fiscal year. Submitted the room reservation request. Filled out a form from our Collection Development Team about funding formulas.

Lunch time.

Ref Desk.

Explained to a student that I don’t know why the library’s computers won’t let her open her attachment, it’s something to do with our security settings, but it should work just fine for her in the computer lab.

Code some open ended survey questions from our student technology use environmental scan.

Scanned google reader library/ian items. Added links to my Visual Communication Design LibGuide.

Helped a student researching a local theatre. Had to explain that yes, even though the site fails our instinctive evaluation checks (ads, design quality), The Handbook of Texas Online is a reputable source put out by the Texas State Historical Association. In the process of showing print collection, found an economics book with a bum call number, sent it off to tech services for a new one. Call to get books held at another campus for a different student researching soccer.

Read an article a coworker sent me about fund allocations. Interesting and provocative.

More coding.

Signed in some guests. Showed a student how to do double sided copying on our convoluted copier. Showed a student how to access the health databases and explained that avian is just a fancy word for bird so she didn’t need to use both when searching for the flu. See a younger kid wandering the reference shelves. We have a no unattended children policy, but I also see his mom studying. In the time it takes me to wonder if we would have any kids books he might be interested he’s back at her table with a beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs. I do a quick catalog search to see what else we have on dinosaurs, but he clearly has the best one. I drop off a couple more large animal picture books for him and he goes for the snakes pretty quickly.

Called and had a book held at another campus for a student. Look over and see the kid pointing out a snake’s eyes to his mom. 🙂

A student new to the library researching the death penalty. Showed him the catalog and Opposing Viewpoints. He was ready to take off with just Opposing Viewpoints, but I asked him to stick with me just a second longer so I could show him CQ Researcher. Next student wanted books in Arabic. We had 1 dictionary, other campuses had more and I said we could request those, but of all the options I offered he went for the ebooks (which is a rarity on our campus, but starting to get more popular). He ended up coming back to me 3 times to have me show him again how to do it. In the end I went with him to his computer. He had searched “arbic online,” so we got the “a” back in there and I explained he didn’t need the word “online” and he was good to go.

Showed a student how to copy/paste links because clicking on them in Word is blocked on the library computers. While I was there, got a “where are the printers” and a “how do I make this normal again?” I was very familiar with the annoying ‘show all the paragraph breaks’ view in Word, but couldn’t remember how to get rid of it at the moment. I promised him they wouldn’t show up when he hit print (and I wouldn’t count it against his free pages if I was wrong) and that I’d see if I could figure it out back on my computer (it was the paragraph button in the main toolbar).


Monday – A Day in the Life of a Librarian July 26, 2010

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 8:16 pm

Busy morning. Before I even got around to making my tea I was grabbed to schedule a meeting to learn the cash deposit procedures so I can provide backup, figured out a mystery dvd set left on my chair with a note directed at our Senior Library Assistant who just left us for grad school (and has the same first name as I do) (they needed new labels because they had the wrong date on them), and sorted out some reference desk scheduling swaps that I had apparently forgotten to ask for before so I can make it to my woodworking class on time tonight.

A half hour later I’m getting caught up on email while making my tea and enjoying some zucchini bread a friend brought over last night.

Sent an email to our data people (Office of Institutional Effectiveness) to get summer enrollment data by section for collection management use. Ordered Char’s new tech report for our professional development collection. Spoke with a few members of our Collection Development Committee about their decision to move witchcraft from history to psychology. Met with my head librarian to get the briefing on the last Library Leadership Team (LLT) meeting.

Desk time!

Slow at the desk (summer session is winding down), so continuing with email. Highlights include: book and media recommendations from colleagues for my fund areas, adding some professional development opportunities to our internal wiki and the profdev blog, submitted extra orders for our new campus opening day collection, agreed to help with a customized LibGuide for an honors psychology class.

Interspersed with email I also checked off some of the tasks I got from the LLT debriefing and checked in with my head librarian to see if the next fiscal year’s teams had been made official yet (they haven’t).

At the desk: help a student with the copier, signed a group up for a study room, helped a student get some math study guides, helped a student set up their school email address, helped a student find the chemistry section. Yup, it’s definitely summer.


IMed with my survey partner on the next steps – which include finished coding and then writing a report and executive summary. Sent emails to coordinate having enough shelving carts available for unpacking at the new campus.

Back to the ref desk and reading less important emails – listservs, scout reports, AL directs, Choice reviews, etc. I also update my LibGuides with relevant links from colleagues and from the scout reports.


Friday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian January 29, 2010

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 9:06 pm

The morning starts with a periodicals check in training (how to receive them from the mail and get them into the system). This isn’t one of my typical duties, but I really appreciate the cross training and seeing how it all works.

Then on to emails. Our administrative assistant wants to know if we need any supplies. I let her know we’re running low on tissues. The person doing the photoshop training asks whether the room will have the right software so I make a note to check that when I make the room request, which won’t happen until voting on the date has finished.

I reply to a poll about renaming our Study Guides.

I see that an area I’m responsible for has been updated in the wiki and take a peek. There are formatting issues that seem to be from a copy/paste from word issue. I send a (hopefully) polite explanation of how to use the paste plain text feature. It’s a new part time helper so there’s no reason to expect she would know about the horrors of copy/paste from word.

Do the Friday Link Round Up. I collect up the links throughout the week so today is only formatting and categorizing.


Work on ordering for Visual Communication Design for the rest of the afternoon.


Thursday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 12:55 am

Got in to two voicemails. One on using our ordering software and one on scheduling a training. Get my computer booted up and my tea made and call them back.

My email contains a reply from our Office of Institutional Effectiveness to my request for course data wondering if something at the department level rather than the course level might suffice. It included a link to something similar and also helpful, but not really what I need. I replied with a further explanation of how I would use the course level data.

I clear out emails that have come in over night, mostly listserv stuff. Most I skim and trash, but ili-l has an intersting discussion on situating a research topic within a discipline that I take the time to read.

Meet with my office mate and our Head Librarian to get the rundown on what was discussed at the last management meeting.

Schedule the wiki training. Ikon comes to fix our printer. Log in to my IM shift.

More phone calls with some possible trainings. More trying to clear through piles of notes on my desk.

Ref desk.

I decide to work on weeding psychology between questions. Get called back to my office to let our tech onto my computer to renetwork the now repaired printer.

Back in my office I have a voice message from a psychology professor asking about journal subscriptions. I call her back, get voicemail and leave her a message answering her question and inviting her to call or email me to discuss further. Our psychology journal holdings are less than ideal, but fixing it is probably beyond our budget at this time.

I rerun our featured lists. That’s a back end catalog thing. It’s upkeep. It’s a little silly that I have to do it by hand, but it takes less than 10 minutes.

I spend the rest of the afternoon ordering for psychology.


Wednesday – A Day In The Life Of A Librarian January 27, 2010

Filed under: meme — ellie @ 11:47 pm

In an hour early this morning to make up some of the Cabinetry time from yesterday. Talked to Technical Services about my call with the vendor yesterday. Wrote up yesterday’s day in the life. Set up a Doodle poll about a potential photoshop training and sent out the related email. Run down to the cashier to get my mileage reimbursement. Got word that I’m getting some desk relief time to work on the student tech survey project, so start checking with adjuncts for availability.

On to the desk. Monday and Wednesday I’m on the desk most of the day with a 2 hour break at lunch. Then Tuesday and Thurday I’m only on the desk 2 hours. Each campus handles their own schedule, so this is just how we decided to do ours, not a standard set from above.

In between questions I’m reading reviews that I set up to be emailed to me monthly from Choice based on my collection areas. I also organize the files and browser bookmarks on the ref desk computer for backup and transfer since we’ll be getting a new desktop very soon.

Work on ordering books in my subject areas for the 50% deadline at the end of the month.


I spend a little time clearing/sorting through some piles of paper on my desk.

I had an IM shift from 10-2, but no questions.

Continue to work on collection development on my reference desk downtime for the rest of the afternoon. One of the things I do is collect up the information about how many sections of each of the classes in the Visual Communications department are offered at each campus this semester. This prompts me to email our Office of Institutional Effectiveness to see if they can send me that data instead of me hand collecting it from the course schedule.