Monday, February 21, 2011

The More Things Change

(image from Flickr user carianoff)

Early on this year I made two declarations (you could call them resolutions if you want) that were, if I'm honest with myself, more in jest than in seriousness. But, as events turned out, things happened in my favor.

The first was that I wasn't going to shave until the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. They had barely made the playoffs, so I assumed that the post-season would be short for them. I've never had much of a beard, so this was going to be my break at growing something good. This was not a popular decision in my house (neither was the next one) as both my wife and my daughter (she's almost five) hate the scratchy beard face. Well, the joke's on them; the Packers won the Super Bowl so I can retain my irregular shaving pattern.

The second was that I wasn't going to cut my hair until I got a new job. Again, even if my wife or daughter supported the idea (they didn't, and our son at two really hasn't offered an opinion to date) I don't think I could deal with long hair. But, just like the first declaration, the conditional in my statement came to pass so I got a haircut this past weekend.

Oh, right. That implies that I have a new job. This past week I accepted the position of assistant director at the Waukesha Public Library. I grew up in nearby Brookfield, WI, so I'm quite familiar with Waukesha. My parents and sister live in Oconomowoc, which is less than a half-hour away by car. My wife's family will be less than two hours away on the other side of the state. It will be great to be closer to family.

The job itself is great, too. Above me is the deputy director then the director. The deputy director oversees technical services, reference, and children's services. I'll oversee circulation, building management, and technology. I think the job will be challenging, but in a good way. My technology background will be really useful here. I don't start until almost the end of March, so until then I can only speculate about what the job will be like.

I'm excited, though. Very excited.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Day in the Life

It doesn't matter that I'm more than a week late for this, does it?

Day in the Life

Access Librarian/Assistant Professor
Palmer College of Chiropractic
Academic/Health Library

This winter has been cold; cold like the winters from my childhood where we braved the elements in order to play king of the hill or some other inane thing out on the playground. You never feel warm, and everything feels sluggish, dirty, and gray. Your car takes longer to warm up, your coffee isn't quite hot enough, you never see the sun, and there's just pile upon pile of dirty gray snow everywhere.

Like so many of us, the first thing I do is put away my lunch and fill up my water bottle. Then I fire up my computer so I can check email and see what crises arose overnight. We're open until 11:00p, so I'll often find email from staff about things that went on the night before.

Staring at me balefully is an unread message from MLA co-contributor that's a week old. I was supposed to send in permission forms so that they could use the annotated bibliography that I wrote about chiropractic for the upcoming MLA Guide to Health Sciences Information Resources. I fill out the forms and fax them over to the proper person. Then it's on to my "everyday" work (in quotes as with most librarians, there is not typical or standard day-to-day, everyday tasks).

I try to place book on hold through the OPAC. It was something I knew we were getting that I thought I would like to read, however, it's not available in the system yet. But, while I'm thinking about holds, I modify hold settings in system so that they expire after 365 days. We don't have that many hold records sitting out there right now, but trying to think ahead.

I have an email about checkout in the clinic not accruing fines. First things first, I check the student's account and it's set up correctly. So next I check item the record and at first glance it seems set up correctly. Then I run history logs, but nothing looks amiss. So, I re-check the student. I recently changed user profile codes and there have been a handful of students who we missed and have no profile and that makes all sorts of things go awry. So, I re-check book and notice that it's set up wrong. It's using the wrong item type so the circulation map can't give the patron the correct checkout length. I run report to see how many books are like this and I find four so I quick fix them.

Today is one of my reference shifts but I'm working from my desk (in view of reference desk) as the reference desk computer can't run ILS software. I file approximately half the emails in my inbox that have been responded to or do not need response.

Inbox = 18 items

I've signed up for a few new list serves and now that I'm getting some activity on them, I create/edit some inbox rules. I send out an email to see how changing placement of book barcode is working for staff. I then meet w/technical services to discuss a few ILS problems, primarily that the title keyword search not working.

Not knowing how much time this is going to eat, I dive into investigating ILS indexing (it takes a lot of time). I worked with IS to determine best time to shut down 3rd floor computer lab for software updates. I do some reading up on the national digital library. I also research articles on RFID, computer networking, and ILS management.

I get distracted by a recent Amazon purchase arriving w/the mail. Since I'm not actively working on anything, I take lunch. While eating lunch, I cleaned up my personal library blog (where you're reading this).

I talk to the night crew to see how tasks were going and I assign some new tasks to night staff. I call IS to come get stuck ID out of photocopier card reader (this becomes a huge nightmare, but I won't know for six more days).

And I spend more time investigating ILS indexing (did I mention that this took a lot of time?). I decide I've done what I can, so I send the question off to sys admin list serv.

Inbox = 12 items

IS arrives and they work on the card reader. They have to take it away and get a replacement. At this point I need to wrap things up and head out to part-time job.

I rush across town; my important task to pick up pizza for library's dinner (Harris Pizza for anyone w/local knowledge) and I get to library breakroom with plenty of time for everyone to eat dinner.

At the public library I learn about new policy for wifi users. There is a click-through screen of library's official computer use policy, but it's not working very well: some computers/devices can't bring up the page and therefore can't agree to policy and therefore can't get online (the click-through process has since been removed).

Then it's on to the normal reference desk stuff: I help patron search for John Sandford audio books; I look for "2010 or newer" travel guides for Florida or Orlando; I sign some people up for Adult Winter Reading Program; I discuss ebook lending via Twitter; I talk about MLS school standards and expectations on Friend Feed; and I follow along to the State of the Union discussion via Twitter among other things. But mostly, I answer lots of questions about tax forms (we don't have the instruction booklet for the 1040).