Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A day in the life of a Distance Learning Librarian, Part 2

(divided into two posts in order not to choke your bloglines)

Good heavens, I didn't realize I was this productive in a typical day! Three cheers for David Allen! and on to my afternoon...

1:00 Back at my desk (I always leave my office for lunch, even though I usually brown-bag it, for mental health reasons), I blast through my "to-read" folder in outlook (where all of my mailing lists are automatically sent), and then take a quick skim through my LIS-related feeds in bloglines, flagging anything I want to read more closely and/or respond to when I get home that evening.

1:30 (you people write a LOT!)--next up in the deck is a new office supply order. Yes, I DID just receive some supplies that morning--I ALWAYS get requests for things 15 minutes after I put the requisition in the approval queue--it's a law of physics. :-) Band-aids for the first aid kit, some new pens, and index cards get entered into the quote form on the vendor site, which spits out my prices and shipping charge, which I then use to generate a requisition in the purchasing system.

2:00 The afternoon mail came while I was generating the supply request, and with it my purchase order for some more overdue notice forms. I check it against my notes and the screen print of the requisition to make sure everything looks right, and fax the PO to the vendor.

2:15--the next hour or so I take a few login questions via email and phone (random question to the universe: if you're having problems logging into the databases during FINALS, what does that say about your study habits?) while cranking out my holiday cards for my friends at the library, teachers I've done instruction for, and miscellaneous other folks on campus who make my life run smoother. I try to jot a note in most of them, which takes longer but (I hope) makes it a bit more personal. I get everything in the outgoing mail right before the last pickup--life's little victories :-)

3:30--i have a next action to find a good book on networking in the collection, so I fire up the opac and then run upstairs to the main stacks, returning with Diane Darling's "The Networking survival guide" (which I've since started, really like, and will post more about soon!). I check the book out to myself at the circ desk and stick it in my to-read basket.

3:45--The reserve class I took this morning reminded me that we will have to recreate our reserve records from scratch in the new ILS after the migration in march. Trying not to think of the time I spent cleaning out dead records during the last intersession and getting the reserve room in shape, I sit down with my meeting notes and training manual to bang out a draft workflow for the migration project. The best solution is probably to add things to the reserve room as needed for the last 6 weeks of the semester post-migration, and then add in what's left during the may intersession. I suspect we'll have enough on our plates getting used to the new system without trying to re-record 3,000 or so reserve items at the same time. I write up a quick process for on-the-fly reserve additions, note that we need to train the student workers to let our full-time library assistants handle those to ensure quality control, and bang out the outlines of the main migration project plan. I file the plan in my tickler to revisit during go-live, when we'll have a tech onsite to answer questions and make sure our servers don't explode the first time we boot up.

4:15--I probably spent almost 2 hours of my day on purchasing-related activities, and while that's a little on the high side, it isn't atypical either. Until hell freezes over and the library gets an administrative assistant, I'm probably going to be the purchasing person, and I really don't want to spend this much of my time fiddling with office supplies while I watch more interesting things (like a paper I'd like to write with a friend of mine who's a DL librarian in Michigan)go stale in my someday/maybe file. I write my current workflow down in excruciating detail, circle things that could be condensed or deleted, star stuff that could be offloaded to a student worker (like that 20 minutes I spent this morning unloading boxes), and then clip the notes to my reminder card in next friday's tickler slot for my biweekly email to the boss.

4:50--The home stretch! I take a few minutes to skim my to-read folder again, check that I have no inbox items that need screening, and tidy up my desk. My last next action for the day is to grab my binder for the non-profit board I'm on (meeting tonight), and I plop it directly on top of my purse before taking one last look around my desk for rogue cards, file everything where it needs to go, add one errand I brainstormed earlier in the day to my travelling card caddy, and shut down at 5 on the dot. Can't stay late today--got that meeting. (The boss likes us not to stay much after our shift anyway unless neccessary--he's pretty good about making sure we don't burn out :-) )

So...that's it! I must say, typing all that out makes me feel like less of a slacker. How does it compare to YOUR work?