Alchemical Thoughts

Peeking at the life of the Outreach Librarian

Posted on: April 11, 2008

Now that I am sitting for the evening at the reference desk, I have some time to breath. Not a whole lot mind you. Business has been stable. Not too busy, but stable enough to prevent you from getting any substantial work done. In other words, it is a pretty good time to do things like catch up on feeds. It often is also a good time when the mind wanders a bit, and you get to thinking. And I have been thinking what have I been up to all week? My feed readers is overflowing, and I have not done any blogging of my own. Blogging is something I tend to miss when I don't do it, but it takes some work. Given all the work that has kept me busy here, I just don't feel like putting the work in for the blogging for now. Considering that I have not done much teaching these days, I am still swamped with work. Some things I have been working on include:

  • It's National Poetry Month. For me, it means:
    • putting up the display,
    • maintaining the slide show in the LG screen we have running in the lobby and adding new slides for it (I have someone who makes the slides, but I still have to provide her with the content. Long story there, so you better off not asking),
    • making flyers to promote our poetry contest,
    • putting up said flyers around campus for the contest,
    • blogging about it in the library's blog as well as creating a few other posts to drum up interest: pieces of information, features, etc.
    • We have a poetry readout: rinse and repeat in terms of promotional items in blog, screen, and flyers
    • We have a poetry awards ceremony. Rinse and repeat in terms of promotional items in blog, screen, and flyers. However, for this one add that I am drafting a press release for the campus information service to disseminate since we are having a keynote speaker of enough renown to warrant it. The ceremony includes a reception, but mercifully I was able to delegate those small details.
  • It's National Library Week next week.
    • Another smaller display (working on this one. I think I will have it ready on time for Monday, though I may have to stay late tomorrow or the weekend).
    • Did a small announcement of our reception for NLW in the campus electronic board.
    • Have to make a blog entry for the library's blog about it.
    • Be present for the reception itself. Library director took care of the cake and the beverages. She is coming along with one of the library's major benefactors on Monday, so time to be on my best behavior, so to speak.
    • Luckily, and I know this sounds awful, most of the librarians are gone to the state library association convention next week. So what we do for NLW is minimal other than the display. Wish I could do more, but I have not figured out how to clone myself.
  • The university is in the midst of accreditation. I am on one of the campus committees for it. That in itself has not been too bad. However, there is tons of work to do in the library to document our compliance, so I get to work on that.
  • I am the Head of Reference. Every time some widget gets busted in the reference computer labs, I get the first call. And even though I am not always the scheduled back up for the reference assistant assigned on a given day, since my office is right there, she often ends up calling me anyways. I don't mind; I actually like working reference. However, it does take away from other things I can be doing (which would not bother me as much were it not for the other librarians with offices in remote locations of the library who whine because when they are assigned back up they have to drag themselves to the reference area, another long story you are better off not asking).
  • We are in the middle of redesigning our library website. We have a wonderful webmaster who has done an incredible amount of work. Still, I am the lead in the project.
    • I designed, planned, and implemented the usability testing for the new website.
    • This was after I designed, planned, and implemented some time for focus groups to get some preliminary data before embarking on the design.
    • I still have to transcribe the forms from the usability tests. Eventually there will be a report on this, and we will probably use some of the data as part of our response for accreditation (under the rubric of addressing student needs and surveying to find out said needs). I have considered either submitting a paper out of it to the state conference or a poster session. Who know? I may just make a few blog entries to publicize what I want. We did learn an awful lot that I am still digesting (though I am not sure how much digesting time I will get).
  • Subject LibGuides. We acquired an account with LibGuides to go along with the new website. We are using them for our subject guides. I have three subject areas that need guides, and I still have to get on with it. The webmaster is getting itchy over the other librarians not getting theirs done, so I have to get to it, once I get everything else above done.
  • Library Marketing Plan. Yep, we are writing one, or rather, I am writing it.

And the above is just the stuff I can remember off the top of my head now. Some of it is done; other is ongoing, and other stuff I have to get done. Now that I have made the long list, it does seem a bit daunting. I have been handling it mostly with small daily lists of tasks. I just try to accomplish a little bit at a time, which usually works until one of the following happens:

  • A major interruption. Whether it is putting out a "fire" in reference or someone remembers they want something now that they waited to tell me until now.
  • Someone adds something to the plate, and they want it now. I love some of my coworkers dearly, but they at times have the habit of coming up with ideas. The problem? It's ideas for stuff that falls in my purview, and guess who then has to work on those too.
  • The director adds yet something else. When that happens, depending on the urgency, you have to drop something to get it done. And it happens fairly often too.
  • Students: The best part of what I do. However, when I was doing instruction, I could devote myself more to the students, and do the other stuff as time allowed. Not so much an option here.

Good grief. I never quite visualized it in writing like this. No wonder I have not had much time to blog in any serious way. Yes, I know, I am blogging now, but I am doing it while I am at the reference desk between transactions. So, what's the point of all this? Well, I just started wondering why the heck do I seem to lack some time for blogging. Now I know. And I better get back to work.

And by the way, someone please smack for me the next happy shiny L2 worshiper who thinks librarians like me ought to be experimenting more with 2.0 stuff, and if we lack time, well, we should make the time if we think it is important. I have choice words for such worshipers, but I will keep this post family-friendly. Buy me a bottle of wine or a couple of good beers, I may actually use said words.

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