This post was inspired by a tweet from Librarian By Day to let people know what librarians do on a daily basis. There is also a wiki set up with information about other librarians who are participating in this project. If you want to join, add your name, job title and blog link to the list. The invitation code is: library.
Like most librarians, I am a multitasker and often do jobs outside of my “official” job description. Officially, I am the University Archivist, which means that I maintain the University’s history. I am also a reference librarian and liaison to the History Department. So I man the reference desk, answer questions, help students with their research, make sure the History Department’s reference section is up to par, conduct bibliographic instruction and keep the printers printing and the photocopiers photocopying. Lastly, I am also an instructor for the History Department. I teach American History since 1865.
So now to a breakdown of my day:
I arrived at work at 8 o’clock in the morning. The first thing I did was check the archives email account to see if I have any requests. If there are any, I reply letting the requestor know that I’ve received the message and I will contact them again once I have the requested information. Then I go through the rest of the email and save all emails that are relevant to the university, the Sisters of Mercy or the Back Mountain community. Next I check phone messages for requests and I return phone calls. For the most part, people usually contact me by email because it saves them from having to rewrite requests and it saves on misunderstandings. After I finish responding to requests, I check my personal email and reply to those. Last I check Google Alerts to see if there’s anything about our university in the news.
If I have a request for information, I’ll start research immediately. If not, I check Bloglines to catch up on what I may have missed at a conference or on another librarian’s or archivist’s website.
Today, I had a research request. Recently, our county underwent a reassessment of property taxes. The reassessment has left many folks devastated because, in some cases, their taxes have almost doubled. So I had request for information about appealing the taxes. This was not an overly involved search, but I wanted to make sure that I provided links to the appropriate documents and fees as well as information about the appeals process.
Next, I put together information about the difference between primary and secondary sources for a history class. I’m also in the process of putting together an information sheet on evaluating sources for the same course. They also requested information about APA — that was pretty easy, I just pointed them to the link on Blackboard.
By now, it’s 12:45 and I’m getting ready to go to lunch. After lunch, the second part of my job begins: Reference Librarian.
At the Reference Desk, a couple of students come and ask me questions about finding backdated journals. One journal is available online, so I show the student how to search Journal Finder to find the journal and then how to access it online. The second journal is stored with the printed materials, so I show the student where those are kept.
Another student asks me how to create a PowerPoint presentation. This is the third request like this that I’ve received, so I’m thinking I’ll put a little something something together and see if I can get Tech Services to post it under the “How To…” guides.
Things slow down now so I start putting together reference material for the history course that I’m teaching. I’m hoping to introduce information literacy into the course, but I’m not sure how to do it with only 4 weeks left in the class. Maybe it’s something I can work on now and then implement next time I teach.
It’s nearing the end of the day, so I check all of my various email accounts to see if there’s anything I need to respond to before I go home for the day. There’s nothing, so I log off the computer and say my “good byes.” It’s 5 PM.
Now to my other job: wife and mother. A woman’s work is never done.