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Day in the Life of a Children’s and Youth Librarian

Posted: March 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: librarian, project | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Library Day in the Life is an excellent sharing project conceived by Bobbi Newman who writes the info-and-fun-filled Librarian by day blog. Designed to share what a ‘typical’ day is like for a library worker/student/educator/etc., people everywhere chronicle their day via twitter, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc. and share it with other library folk. Perhaps more importantly, it is also hoped that non-library folk experience Library Day in the Life (LDITL). People share and follow various Days in the Life by searching for #libday8 on twitter, blogs, Google+, and so on. Library folk get to read, see and watch what others do – it’s a great opportunity to try on a different Librarian’s hat and/or cardigan for a day. If posts/tweets/photos/videos of our Library Day in the Life are seen by those who dwell outside Libraryland, perhaps we can enlighten interested others as to what we do all day. It may well lead to stellar ideas from others about any aspect of our work days: ideas about tech, management, promotions, task prioritising, and so on. Sharing our days may result in collaborations, myth-busting, who knows?! The process also helps the individual reflect on how effectively they use their time at work, and at home. Library Day in the Life forces participants to analyse our prioritisation of workloads: we see what tasks demand the most of us, and what are neglected. This is the 8th round – hence #libday8 – of this very valuable and fun exercise.

I have a new desk!


I’m starting with when I rise to indicate when I start learning, sharing & ‘living’ in Libraryland i.e. when I start reading twitter, RSS feeds, blogging, etc. I’ve not included after work because I didn’t really visit Libraryland as I didn’t bring any work home or go online, or read any work related stuff. I did mention I have a new baby, right?!

6.00am Awake, get up.

6.05-6.30 Nurse #GeeBee (who?), make coffee, open twitter, and google docs for recording #libday8 notes.

6.30 Trawl twitter, watch new Hunger Games trailer then tweet it to personal and work accounts.

6.40 Keep drafting another blog post.

6.45 Meander around net reading music stuff…. drink coffee, and goo-and-gaa at sleeping baby!

7.05 Remember cool idea for tumblr post, find YouTube clip and queue post.

7.10 Trawl tumblr feeds; so much eyecandy and earcandy!

7.20 More blog post draft, twitter links, coffee drinking, #GeeBee soothing/cuddling/stoking-out-on.

7.40 Save draft, wake most excellent wife J., then shave, shower, get ready for work.

8.20 Somehow pries myself away from #GeeBee and drive to work. Take work ideas and tasks notes on post-it as I drive – safely!

8.55 Arrive work. Only 5min early; this year I am aiming to (mostly) only work rostered hours to keep a better work/life balance.

9.00 Switch on pc, check for any urgent email, fill in calender, check diary, eat nuts – NTS make breakfast!

9.05 Allocate new items. Trying to do this as soon as they come in, to give people current items asap. Sounds fair, right?!

9.15 Create draft version of annual events calender for manager to take to managers’ meeting.

9.50 Morning tea, info share featuring cake – clichés are true :)

10.00 Library open (til 8pm)

10.05 Email supervisor two questions to ponder. This year I am trying not to ask too many questions in person – i.e. less interruptions. Hmmmm, see how I go!

10.10 Continue events document.

10.45 Allocate more new items. Help customer with photocopier.

11.00 Read about proposed staffing restructure.

11.10 – 11.35 Discuss library newsletter, dubious image searches!, future event planning with my supervisor.

11.45 Meet local community group who use library in rain. This is occasional; I would like to offer our space to more groups, because it is not our space, it is theirs. Oh and surely community driven space is the future of librarianship, if not the present.

11.50 Print promos/posters/flyers for 2012 programs.

12.15pm Tidy up task list, flagged items in Outlook (MPOW email client). Help customer find Captain Underpants book.

12.30 Lunch in lunchroom with colleagues.

1.00 Email local primary school about library lesson attendance in 2012.

1.20 Fill in paper diary. Still using this, but for how long?

1.28 Had a great idea (an aha moment!) for project with local primary school – must flesh this out, and follow through…

1.30 Prepare for serials (magazines) meeting.

2.00 Serials meeting.

3.25 Cup of tea (at desk) while checking emails. Help customer find books similar to the ever-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books; we have Big Nate books. (Do you know any other read-alikes?)

3.30 Event planning document discussion with supervisor.

4.30 More emails, tidy desk, make list for Monday.

4.40 Learn I need to come in for early shift on Monday for non-fiction and adult fiction selection – good practice.

5.10 Leave. (Only 10mins late, an improvement on average finishing times of last year.)

So that’s my day, thanks for reading! (You can my previous LDITL posts here and here.)

Please leave a link to your LDITL in the comments. Or even a link to or paragraph about your NON-Library Day in the Life. Sharing is caring!

Library Day in the Life: Round 7

Posted: August 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, librarian | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments »

Recently I participated in round 7 of Library Day in the Life (or LDITL, or #libday7). LDITL is an oh-so-clever & downright helpful project dreamed up by Bobbi Newman. The project calls for library workers everywhere to document & share their day online to give readers an insight into what it is we do all day. On her Librarian by day blog,  Bobbi explains further:

“(LDITL is) a chance to share your day, or week, with other librarians and hopefully the public at large… Last round there were just under 250 people signed up on the wiki. There were over 800 people participating via Twitter.  It has grown to be an international project with participants from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, France, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Participants are from academic, public, college, special, school libraries, professional organizations and library vendors.”

I’m blogging about one day of my working week to share with people in Libraryland and – more importantly – people who don’t work in libraries, why I can honestly say: “I’m lucky, I love my job.”  This exercise is also for me to reflect on how I spend a working day, with a view to improving time-management & prioritising tasks. I am pleased I can compare it to my Round 6 post, which will be very helpful as self-reflection.

To participate I:

  • signed up on the wiki
  • recorded my day on a notepad (like a real-life, hardcopy actual pad – but I did include hashtags!)
  • took some photos (sans public due to privacy)
  • DIDN’T tweet – & I wish I could have because it would have made for a more interactive day & helped me keep more detailed notes that were time recorded
  • posted my photo/s to the LDITL Flickr group pool
  • tweeted a couple of things from home & followed the hashtag: #libday7 from home
  • wrote this blog post & shared it with you!

There is a method to my messness!

My Librarian Day in the Life: Tuesday 26th July, 2011

Facts you may need to know:

  • I’m a Children’s & Youth Librarian in a Public Library in Australia
  • I’m 35 & male
  • I do wear cardigans & glasses
  • I don’t have a cat.

6:55am  Rise.

7:00  Coffee pot & computer on.

7:10  Logged into Twitter & read about Björk app & A Clockwork Orange being adapted into a musical! & began scrawling #libday7 notes in pad.

7:15  Scan Gmail inbox for any pertinent personal emails, open my google+ (G+) stream & added “Hello from Wollongong, Australia!” to @LiB‘s in-library G+ class.

7:25  G+ & coffee (Together at last,) read about gaming in & outside of libraries.

7:25  Reply to FB non-Libraryland friends & tweeted a welcome to (non-Libraryland) friend who joined twitter – yay!

7:30  Shower, etc.

8:10  Leave home, drop most excellent wife J. @ work, arrive work.

8:50  Clock in, return library books, start pc, etc. (10mins early.)

9:00  Write to-do list.

  • cull
  • #libday7 notes
  • photos
  • email person X
  • write-up 5/6 (script for Children’s Book Week performance)
  • post KC draft (library blog that I run)
  • email ALL RE: stats
  • prep lessons
  • KC & TC posts (both library blogs I manage)
  • select (books from visiting Bookseller.)

9:05  Cull AKA weed: part of my role is maintaining Junior & Young Adult collections. This involves (among other things) selecting items to be weeded (discarded, culled) from the collection. Right now I’m focussing on Junior Fiction & this morning I targeted Board Books & Picture Books.

10:00  Book selection: another part of maintaining collections is acquisitions (purchasing, ordering, buying). We have relationships with a few booksellers who bring books to us, so we can select direct from them. I purchase Junior & Young Adult fiction for our four branches. This is an excellent part of my job :)

11:30 Emails, emails, emails. It is a BIG element to my job. Recently, I spoke with my supervisor about how it interrupts our workflow, & we both wish it wasn’t so. Other people agree. Will MPOW use Yammer one day? Or something else? (Does your workplace use Yammer?)

12:00 noon  Preparing promo material for Library Manager.

12:30  Lunch.

1:00  Culling continued.

1:40 Set up children’s area space for library lesson: a local Primary School does not have a school library, so MPOW is their library. The whole (smallish) school visits over three afternoons, every two weeks. I host 5 lessons of around 25 children/class. We talk about books, reading, learning & our library. I am teaching them how to use their library for fun, & fun study. After our brief lesson I assist them to find any books/mags/comics they would like to borrow for the two weeks. Apart from raising our profile & providing an essential service for these school library-less children, these lessons generate great door counter & loan stats. It is also a chance for me to promote new items, services & activities & to informally survey what children are reading, studying, listening to, watching, playing & what their current hobbies are. I feel it is a very important service & it is undoubtedly mutually beneficial.

1:45  Check over pre-prepared lesson plan. It is very important for me to be organised for these lessons. I am not always, & the quality suffers & I get nervous & feel rushed. In an ideal world, I would have the year planned out, or at least a school term, but currently I just plan a week in advance.

2:00 Deliver two library lessons back-to-back. The first for Years 2/3, and the second for Year 4 children. If it fits into my lesson plan & the time allotted, I really like to read to the children as a part of the lesson. For the first class, I read the very funny Barnyard Slam as we were discussing illustrators.

3:10 Pack up after class: move furniture, tidy shelves, check in books, & enter the all-important stats for reference/catalogue help.

3:25 Make cup of tea, grab apple & back to desk.

3:30 Return my colleague’s trolley – very important. Never, no never, take another library worker’s trolley.

3:40 Continue culling.

3:45 Impromptu meeting to discuss Children’s Book Week timetable. Consensus = hectic!

4:10 Carry new book boxes. (Further proof librarianship is manual labour!)

4:12 My tea is cold, but I finished my apple.

4:25 Help customer with printer.

4:30 Sign into MPOW twitter account: scan tweetstream & retweet any faves.

4:35  Tidy MPOW blog post draft, publish it, email staff RE post, tweet link to post.

5:10  Shut down pc, tidy desk (honestly!) & clock out. (10mins late.)

– – – – – – –  time, traffic, conversation, dinner & Neighbours passes – – – – – – – – – – –

9:15pm  Open twitter, Google Reader & G+ & follow links to read about other’s #libday7 adventures. I also meandered around virtual Libraryland reading about Children’s & Young Adult literature & programming ideas for both groups. People’s posts about G+, other tech stuff & some #cpd23 posts got a look-in too.

10:35  To bed & more reading; The Red wind this time. I’m reading this as reader advisory because it’s on the short list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year. Thankfully, I’m enjoying it too.

You may like to know:

  • for sure I’ve missed some stuff that I didn’t make a note of. Especially customer service: loans, reader advisory, catalogue/pc/reference help, and, staff phone calls, discussions & questions (oh & laughs too!)
  • of my list of 10, I completed 4 items. This is normal, & indicative of how much unscheduled work comes up
  • I wore my lightweight cardigan, not my winter number.

So, Dear Reader:

  • how was your #libday7 day/s or week? Please leave a link in the comments to your post/s because I’m keen to read :)
  • if you don’t work in a library, what do you think of my workday?
  • if you do, how does it compare to yours?
  • Thanks for reading this  l     o        n          g  post!

Library day in the life

Posted: January 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: project | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

My dear RSS reader recently delivered me this post by the always funformative Bobbi L. Newman at Librarian by day. In a nutshell, she has created a project – now in it’s sixth year – where librarians across the world document their days, and then share them. The hope being that library workers will gain an understanding of what is like to live a day as a librarian in a workplace/country/etc. different to their own. The other equally – if not more – important hope is that non-library workers will gain an understanding of what it is like to live a day as a librarian. It will be great to hear how (if?) the message escapes the “echolib” as it is known. As I see it, Library day in the life aims to educate my libraryland friends and my other friends, and of course myself, about an average day for librarians across the world. By participating in this project I will also have the chance to reflect on what I do everyday, because it’s not often (read: never) that I stop & write it all down. I’m guessing this will be very useful. John Kennerly explains it very well in this post:

It forces me to reflect on what I am doing as a librarian. By reporting on my daily activities, I can’t help but see a snapshot of my day-to-day efforts in a typical work week. It’s an opportunity for professional self-assessment. Granted, it only records one week of activity out of the year, but it is real activity nonetheless. Are there things that I can improve? (Time management? Goal adjustments? Priorities?) Can I validate my contributions to the profession? (I really accomplished all that today? I must have been on my game! Now that particular task was something I can feel good about and keep doing.)

For the record: I’m a Children’s and Youth Librarian in a Public Library in NSW, Australia.

Monday 24th January, 2011

Arrive MPOW & greet bookseller on way in door (I didn’t realise he was coming; I was hoping to use the time for other things!)

Greet new staff member – great to have a new smiling face on board, especially because we needed to fill this position for a few months.

9.00am (actual start time)
Log on & open email client, LMS, etc.

Go through eight milk crates of books & select titles for our four branches. I select junior fiction, picture books, board books, young adult fiction, junior graphic novels and young adult graphic novels.

“Morning meeting”: we drink tea & fold & stuff envelopes with library notices and talk about work/weekend/colleague’s farewell dinner/tv/etc.

Continued (perhaps too quickly?) selecting books while nervously watching time as I had to prep for 11am event.

Set-up and prep for “Paul Jennings Fest!” School Holiday Activity event. (Jennings is an Australian author who young people enjoy. I chose him to link in with Summer Reading Club‘s theme of Scare up a good book. His website’s here.) I hurriedly created a display of items for loan, while re-brainstorming event plan, sound-checking talking book, and attempting to calm pre-event jitters (do these ever subside?!)

Start event by reading a short story called A good tip for ghosts from Paul Jennings’ Spookiest Stories.
Discuss the author and writing style, genres, what have you read, etc?
Decide against planned games because a. there’s not enough people for the 2 games I planned, and b. there’s not enough time to fit everything I planned in.
Decide against talking book option as the story I chose is too long and I’m already running overtime.
Talk about tv series Round the twist adapted from Jenning’s books.
Play one episode.
DVD skips then stops, even though it played fine at my house yesterday. Grrr.
Clean DVD, finish show & encourage readers to borrow from Jennings display (or anything!) and say thanks for coming, see you next time :)

Drink water (phew!). Re-set up junior area where event was. Check and send email.

12.35pm (5 mins late)
Go to lunch. Talk work, film (Black swan), gossip mags, foodstuffs, etc.

1.05pm (5 mins late)
Return to desk & read received email outlining syllabus for ALA (U.S.A.) course I’m considering paying for myself for professional development. Decide against it as I hoped it would be more teen-based. Make another nts to re-read ALIA (Australian) PD courses 😉

Send thank you email to LEGO for awesome School Holiday Activities (see photo).

Read General Manager’s blog post RE our council’s financial standing. Prognosis: hmmm.

Read, respond to & cull emails.
Write & re-write to-do lists – I do a lot of this!
I have a white-board, diary, to-do list pad, post-its, heaps of scrap bits of paper, task list in Outlook, Outlook calender reminders, etc., etc. Perhaps this is too many places for lists? Do others have this problem/obsession? Solutions welcomed :)

Go talk to my supervisor about budget, and then about Glee!

Create RSVP list for Summer Reading Club. Brainstorm Summer Reading Club party RE staffing, prize-drawing/presenting, food, etc.

Email staff RE Club party & RSVP process.

Change email signature to reflect what I’m reading. I like to include an “I’m reading…” mention as part of my signature to promote reading, my general love of it, and our collection. It can spark some great conversations too…

Edit draft children’s and youth services contribution for new format monthly library e-newsletter.

Discuss staffing for Summer Reading Club party. Especially given I may no longer be able to be there (oops) due to meeting at State Library.

Make tea & bring back to desk to drink.

Nibble seeds & nuts & sip tea while finalising newsletter contribution. Email this to colleague.

3.35 (& all day really)
Took a few more notes RE #libday6. Also took a couple of photos for this blog post & #dailyimage2011 flickr project.

Finally start allocating new items. I classify new/donated items as Junior/Youth Fiction, Easies (picture books), Youth/Junior Graphic Novels. Then I allocate them to one of four libraries. I had planned to start this at 9.05am.

Chat with supervisor RE procedures & staffing.

Continue allocating, occasional email.

Email most excellent wife J. & ask if it’s OK if I finish 15mins late? (I pick J. up on my way home.)

5.20 (20 mins late – sorry J.!)
Shut down & leave for home.

So that’s it. Thanks for reading :)
Now let’s share! What did you do at work today?
Non-library workers – pls let me know about your day! AND does my day surprise/excite/bore/perplex/other you?
Library day in the life participants – pls drop a link to your post/s.

To join: visit the wiki.
To follow on twitter: search #libday6.
See photos on flickr.
Check out the Facebook page.
Search the blogosphere with “librarydayinthelife”.