Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Library Day in the Life, Round 5

I've been following the Library Day in the Life tweets on Twitter, contributing a few here and there myself. And since I then progressed to the blog posts, I will contribute my own sample Library Day in the Life.

My job title is Conservation Technician. Basically, I'm in charge of the Preservation Lab and it's day-to-day activities in an academic library. This includes managing students, training, budgets and supplies, dealing with other departmental projects that relate to our own, and of course, performing the treatments/repairs myself while keeping track of 1500+ items.

  • Upon arriving at work, I usually eat my breakfast (0f oatmeal or cereal bar with fruit) and some hot tea. Minimum of two cups. I check my email, listserv digests, and any calendar appts. for the day.
  • Greet students as they arrive and assign any special projects that need to be completed this week. Right now, we are trying to get the treated/repaired materials sent back to the libraries before fall semester starts. This requires a good bit of sorting and organizing by book trucks on my part, which I can then assign to students. Some will need to photocopy barcodes and call numbers for boxes and others will need to create spine labels with title info.
  • I sort through more book trucks of treated/repaired materials to check quality assurance, taking note of which students need more training (they label them so I know who has done what). Those books that look good are routed to a separate book truck to be discharged from the system, statistics noted, and packaged up. They might also be transferred to a different storage site, which of course is a different book truck! Those items that don't pass muster are sent back to students to fix.
  • Students still seem to be chugging along OK so I use this opportunity to handle any other special projects myself. Often this includes fragile books to be disbound for digitization, repairing leather-bound volumes, creating cloth clamshells or portfolios, or just whatever fits the mood I'm in. Maybe I just want to glue things today. This week I'm completing a set of corrugated box bases that are taller and wider than I for Archives. They need a nice container for rolled maps that will fit on a long shelf.
  • Lunchtime arrives and as long as I eat roughly at the same time as the students, I won't be interrupted every ten minutes with questions about repairs.
  • Post-lunch sleepiness is hitting me, so I deliver completed projects to other departments in the building, check in with questions about projects they'd like completed, and pick up new preservation problems.
  • Returning to my desk, I check my current supply order statuses and check the lab for our current needs. Students interrupt to ask when they can learn new treatments, maybe I'll have an hour in a little bit? Back to my desk, I update our supply needs, browse online for what I need, submit an email order, and update our budget expenses after. While I have the spreadsheets open, I update the statistics gathered this morning for our completed projects.
  • Mail should now have arrived so I head downstairs to fetch the daily arrival of stuffed boxes and envelopes of books to be repaired. I need to open each immediately to make sure there are no Rush requests to be handled immediately.
  • Back upstairs, I plan to spend 45-60 minutes instructing students in lab on a new enclosure or repair, depending on what they have yet to learn. Invariably, this takes 2 hours instead and we have yet to complete it. I'll have to remember to finish training once the student is back in again, by which point they will have forgotten how to start the repair.
  • I return to my email, responding to requests for meetings and to see if a missing book is in our lab, despite the lack of documentation of it being here. Hoping we'll find it (because it's missing) but hoping it won't be in lab (because that means I failed to document it's arrival), available students and I search the lab for an hour with no luck. The day is just about over and I take the last 20 minutes to work on the website I need to create for our department. Or maybe update our treatment manual. Or the backlog of special projects. Either way, it's clearly something that always gets pushed to the back burner! Calling it a day, I check the lab for tools plugged in, lights and music left on, before locking the doors. I didn't get as much done as I wanted (I always say this) but at least there were no leaks or other collection-related disasters to respond to. That means it was a good day.

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