Library day in the life round 4 - Friday - Jo Alcock Consulting
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Library day in the life round 4 – Friday

Library day in the life round 4 – Friday

This is one of a series of posts documenting my daily activities as a Resources Librarian at University of Wolverhampton, UK, as part of the Library Day in the Life project.

Today I’ll take the more traditional approach and record my activities, and the time I did them.

6.20 Second alarm went off, I finally decide it’s time to get up.

6.45 Leave home.

6.55 Get first bus.

7.25 Get University shuttle bus.

7.50 Arrive at work, such a quicker journey when I get the earlier buses.

8.00 Opened up (with help from colleague) – turned on OPACs, changed date to show Friday opening hours (we close earlier on Friday evenings), cancelled evening phone diversion, unlocked desk drawers etc.

8.10 Chat with colleague to update her on my recent discussions with the cataloguer about items in the Teaching Practice Collection. I’m hoping to change a sequence and have all fiction classified together in a similar fashion to a public/school library to make it easier to browse, and have a few cataloguing queries about classmarks for teaching materials – I’d like them to be classified by curriculum subject to improve browsing, but currently some are classified in the education section (in reality all materials in this collection are educational). Also discussed my ideas for hosting a coffee morning for academic staff to get them in to see the collection following a thorough weed and rearrangement of the room. I’d love to get more involvement from staff and see them really engage with the collection – recommending resources and setting assignments for students to use the resources.

8.20 Check emails, Twitter and RSS feeds.

8.35 Phone enquiry (we’re not really open until 8.45 but I answered it anyway seeing as I was about) – student thought she may have left her mobile phone on a group study room yesterday. Had a quick check in all the rooms and couldn’t find it, so gave her the number for lost property.

8.45 Set my mood for the day, today I chose focused. 10 tips on how to stay focused on the back (which I read to colleagues in office).

Focused - mood for the day

8.55 Manager arrives and briefly updates us on his visit to Coventry University library yesterday. He was very impressed with the way they manage their IT enquiries – using kiosks for students to log calls for support, and all IT staff have an iPod Touch to track enquiries whilst they’re out and about. He also seemed to really like the tracking devices that managers can use to check status of calls for each individual – how many they have, how quickly they are dealt with etc.

9.05 Checked our resources and Aberystwyth’s (where I am a distance learner) to see if I can get copies of some marketing articles for my dissertation, from a recommended list. Put in an inter library loan for one which I can’t get access to.

9.25 Checked mailing list emails (most are set up to go into a separate email folder). Followed up some links on upcoming events, and forwarded on an email on roving reference support which I think may be of interest to Katharine.

9.35 Took some more new books down to Teaching Practice, nice to see a keen student already working in there and using the resources.

10.00 Helped colleague with EndNote Web – preparing a presentation for a group of level one students in a few weeks, and our materials to support it need updating. Her PC doesn’t seem to want to work with Cite While You Write plugin in Word for EndNote Web, so I checked it out but couldn’t work out the problem. It’s something I’ve encountered before in the training sessions for EndNote Web, so I emailed a colleague to see if she knows what the problem might be.

10.15 Prepared for our staff meeting at 11, read the notes from the last meeting and checked the agenda.

10.25 Decided (as I’m so focused today!) to get back to a mini project of mine which I’ve been trying to get sorted since I had the idea at December’s Middlemash event. One of my bugbears as a subject librarian is finding out when new editions of books are published, generally I discover new editions when I re-check reading lists each semester (or as they are submitted, which is usually anytime after anyone needs the books). I’m hoping to create a Yahoo Pipe to help with this – to take details of the core books on reading lists for my subjects, run it through xISBN to get all related editions, organise by date descending and export as an RSS. That way I should be notified in my RSS reader whenever there is a new edition of any of my key texts, meaning I can order straight away (budget allowing!), and it ensures our stock is up-to-date. This may also help spread orders over the year rather than overloading orders assistants and processing staff in the run up to each semester. That’s the plan anyway! Unfortunately Yahoo Pipes wasn’t playing ball and keeps timing out so I gave up until later. If anyone has any advice on how to achieve this please let me know in the comments.

10.55 Sent an email to our helpful systems support and web admin (AKA Ben) to see if he can help with my new editions pipe.

11.00 Management meeting for Learning Centre (all librarians and supervisors from my centre). Included an interesting (and also a little bit silly!) discussion on how we should track who is in the building in case of fire – should we have multiple signing in sheets, or one ticksheet, or a laminated re-usable ticksheet, or velcro namebadges to add/remove, or in and out flip boards, or RFID tags?! I raised the issue about promoting that we are there to help on helpdesks (following yesterday’s discussion about students apologising for interrupting us), and we decided it would be a good idea to start promoting the helpdesks more and featuring staff in displays and electronic noticeboards so that people recognise who to ask for help. I’m hoping to work on a template using the new University brand guidelines for our electronic whiteboard, to feature staff and highlight what they can help with.

12.40 Quick lunch of gluten free crackers and Philadelphia – actually surprisingly yummy, despite everyone asking recently if I’m dieting! (I’m not, but have recently been diagnosed coeliac so am a little more limited in lunchtime choices). Office conversation recently has been about my lack of experimentation with food, so thanks to a kind colleague I had my first blueberry after lunch (only ever had them in muffins until now, shameful I know!).

13.00 Time to go on the enquiry desk until 3pm. Made sure to practice what I preach, and took my work out on the enquiry desk, nothing too involved so that people could see I was available to help. Also did some roaming and found people struggling to find books who I was able to help. Most of the enquiries were helping people use OPAC, finding books on the shelves or booking group study rooms. There was also a broken PC but a quick call to our IT team in the library soon fixed that (cable plugged in to wrong port!). Helped some lovely people and heard a fantastic quote: “I really like the library, I’d quite like to be a librarian.” Unfortunately I was eavesdropping at the time and wasn’t sure who said it so didn’t get chance to jump in and promote the profession. On days like today I love working on the enquiry desk; OK at times it can be a pain when you’re trying to work on office-based work (e.g. drowning in writing reports), but it’s such a rewarding part of the job. I replied to a couple of emails whilst I was on the enquiry desk, although hit my mailbox limit and lost one I’d written, downside of using Portable Firefox with Outlook Web Access is that it doesn’t save drafts. ๐Ÿ™

15.00 Rewrote and sent email I’d lost, a reply to a mailing list request about using mobiles for roving, something I recently blogged about.

15.15 Photocopied some useful sections of Library Mashups book before passing it on to a colleague.

15.20 Added replacement items to one of the most popular items in Teaching Practice, the Owl Babies Storysack, which I’ve been waiting to be returned for a while.

15.30 Chatted to a colleague about Google Social Search, Yahoo Pipes and other technology related stuff, great to have someone else in the office to discuss these sort of things with. Google Social Search looks really interesting, looking forward to testing it out.

15.45 Called a journal publisher regarding a letter recently received with details of changes to our subscription. In common with many publishers, they’re moving more to online material now so I wanted to make sure we were fully utilising our subscription. Spoke to a very helpful advisor who explained the changes, helped me log into our account, and added me to their monthly email subscription so that I can forward the monthly updates to interested academic staff.

16.15 Needed to get some books off the shelves for reclassification. Found all but one and sent on to our cataloguers.

16.30 Cleaned up my inbox, briefly checked Twitter, and tried to clear my desk (don’t like leaving too much stuff on my desk at the end of the week if I can help it).

16.50 Last few little things for the week – sending book to a colleague, arranging a new label for the Storysack, gathering reports and articles to take home.

17.05 Shut down PC, grab coat, sign out, run to University bus stop and just make it! Weekend starts now, hoping to start work on my dissertation, off to see Stephen K. Amos (comedian) tomorrow, maybe a trip to home improvement stores, and hopefully some relaxation and cross stitching. Enjoy your weekend everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny Lees
    Posted at 11:45h, 30 January Reply

    Hi Jo,

    If you find any articles which we have at Birmingham but you don’t have at Wolves, just give me a shout ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck with the dissertation!


  • Tweets that mention Joeyanne Libraryanne ยป Library day in the life round 4 โ€“ Friday --
    Posted at 20:53h, 31 January Reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jo Alcock, Jo Alcock. Jo Alcock said: Blogged: Library day in the life round 4 – Friday #libday4 […]

  • africker
    Posted at 10:47h, 01 February Reply


    I am another member of the cilip project board you mention.

    I am actually interested in your Yahoo pipes idea for new editions. As a medical librarian keeping on top of new editions is vital and I would love to have something in the style you describe.

    Have you had any further joy?



    • Jo Alcock
      Posted at 19:12h, 03 February Reply

      Thanks for your comment Alan ๐Ÿ™‚

      Great to hear about someone else in the same situation as me, makes me even more determined to perservere with the pipe if it would also be useful to others. Unfortunately I haven’t got any further at the moment, think I’ll have to recruit the skills, knowledge and experience of people far more advanced than myself!

      Looking forward to the CILIP project, and it’s great to see some social media users on the board who can hopefully help gain the views of those of us using these tools as our main communication channels.

    • Sarah Oxford
      Posted at 21:06h, 18 February Reply

      Just catching up with Google Reader…very interested int hat Yahoo Pipes idea Jo! Now who can we get on board to get that going…. ๐Ÿ™‚

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