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January 30, 2012 / playforth

Library Day in the Life: round 8

This is the first time I’ve blogged for the Library Day in the Life project, although I’ve taken part via Twitter before. I’m not sure my thoughts on today will be useful to anyone else as an insight into the life of a library worker, but they might be useful for me as an opportunity for reflection and comparison.

I started off in predictable fashion by drinking coffee while checking my emails and social networks, before talking to a colleague about our current digitisation project, which I’m about to take over the management of, and getting some repository stats for him.

I then did an hour on the circulation/enquiry desk, which was fairly quiet. I had time to tweet a few things for the library and prepare some monthly stats on our Twitter account, send article PDFs to users in the Philippines and Tanzania as part of our document supply service, and index some further articles to add to our catalogue.

After some lunchtime yoga it was meeting o’clock. First up, a catch-up on the acquisitions/cataloguing elements of one of our government-funded programmes, specifically our deliverables and reporting on them. Next, a long union meeting to discuss various financial issues.

I was on the desk again for the ‘late’ shift (5pm-6pm) and this time it was quite busy, but I did find time to send off a poetry review which I’d been putting off since before Christmas…

When I think about today I’m struck by how little cataloguing I did. From Wednesday I’ll be officially taking on my new role of Repository Coordinator, which will take about half of my time away from cataloguing, but in truth I’m already doing a lot of other things.

It was a more stressful day than usual, too, I think because my head is full of a lot of new stuff that hasn’t yet settled into concrete tasks. The thing about cataloguing, at its simplest, is that it’s a zero sum game. An item is uncatalogued, then you catalogue it and it’s done. The linear workflow is quite reassuring compared to the unpredictability of managing complex projects with multiple international partners, or even the daily people-wrangling of the enquiry desk.

I guess what I like about my job is the combination – tidy bibliographic magic mixed with a bit of strategy, teamwork and the odd surprise. No nasty ones though please…


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