Monday, January 24, 2011

Library Day in the Life, Round 6

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." ~Cicero

Alright folks, just because it's a library posting, doesn't mean I can't start the post with my customary quote. It is Monday, the official Lib Day 6 and I am not feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed despite the lovely vision of a garden AND a library.

My first goal of the day: Survive the cold weather. It's about 4 degrees outside and with the wind chill, far below zero. Brrr! Thank goodness for an automatic car starter, AKA hubby. No pleasant gardens in sight except for the (mostly) thriving plants in my basement sucking up rays from the plant light.

I'm pleased to be participating in LibDay6 again, mostly because it's important for not only the public but other librarians and students who want to be librarians to understand what each of us do. At least in my case, the work is a bit specialized and I always have to explain what our department (Preservation) is responsible for.

8:45-9:30: I have a brief 45 minutes (it goes so fast!) to catch up on email, check my calendar, and create my (hopeful) agenda for the day until the student workers start arriving. I spend a great deal of my time training the students in the book repair work.

9:30-10:30: I am in the process of showing a student worker how to construct new cases. This will take several days and we are on day 2. I show her how to glue the super onto the spine of the book, knowing it will take her a bit to get all 4 of her books done. We batch some of our repairs so that more can be accomplished in a tiny bit of extra time. It also helps them remember all of the steps when they have to repeat it several times before moving on. I escape back to the office while she's occupied to get other work done (after proper supervision, of course!).

10:30-10:40: I respond to emails that arrived in the hour I was away from my desk. Sometimes it's amazing how many arrive in such a short time span.

10:40-11:30 I've decided to work on editing our treatment manual a little today. I am constantly in the process of editing our treatment manual simply because I'm always monitoring what works for our purpose, what doesn't, what is too difficult for students to learn, which treatments they can't perform well enough without constant re-dos. I'm always evaluating our treatments on a yearly basis. I think we finally have it down to the basic repairs and enclosures that students will learn, so I'm trying to update our manual to reflect that. It's a slow process since I need to type all new instructions in some cases and provide as many pictures/drawings as possible. My students do not learn from the book (I teach everything one-on-one) but it is a helpful guide for them. Especially if they take a copy of it with them when they graduate.

11:30-12:15 I return to my student, showing her the next couple of steps in the new case construction. I'm hoping to get in many steps without overwhelming her since the second half of the week will be crazy for me.

12:15-1:15 Lunch is spent in my office, broken up occasionally by student interruptions. I encourage them to always come ask me a question versus trying to fix it themselves when they are new to the process. However, this usually means it's difficult to get a relaxing, full hour.

1:15-1:35 I'm back with the student and new cases!

1:35-2:00 For a departmental project, I'm working on extensive descriptions of the many projects we have undertaken. If you are familiar with the ARL preservation statistics, you will know that they are lacking. It's very hard to incorporate some of the work we do, particularly for special projects. I need to have everything written up this week and I've been putting it off, which means it's been on my mind all the more. I'm anticipating the imminent leave of my student and uninterrupted computer time, so I pull up the Margot and the Nuclear So and So's station on Pandora and get to work.

2:00-2:05 So it won't be entirely free of interruptions. I take a time out to go over a special project that a colleague brought over, needing treatment by mid-February.

2:05-2:40 Back to work! Click clack, click clack....

2:40-2:45 I remembered that I need to check on a cloth portfolio I began constructing last week. I take a small break to assess my progress and rearrange the weights that will help it dry flat and remain flat. We don't want it to warp.

2:45-3:45 And back to work typing again!

3:45-3:55 Break time before my vision is permanently fuzzy. And a snack! Hm, cheez-its or shortbread cookies? Shortbread cookies, no cheez-its left in my snack drawer. I'm also starting to realize that this document is going to take a little longer than planned. I may have to work on it at home. It's not a requirement, I know, but I have many work projects I enjoy that I want to get ahead on so sometimes work and home overlap.

3:55-4:30 I'm back to typing for a short bit. I have to leave slightly early today for a personal appointment. I'm usually around until about 5:30. I also appreciate that I have excellent working hours, no evenings or weekends for us. Because our department does not interact with the public, we don't need to be open those hours. Our academic library was, I believe, the first to move all departments that do not deal with the public (minus the archive's reading room) to our off-site facilities. Sometimes it's hard for our building to relate to the tough schedules. Many people in the building work 7 - 3:30. If you're a morning person, that's not so bad. I'm not, thus the later hours. Plus, it would be hard to find students who want to work those hours!

My hubby is having surgery later this week so I doubt I will be able to contribute blog entries for my entire week. But to give you a small taste, I plan to work on developing our department website (we have none right now), post a job description for a new student that I need to hire, finish up that cloth portfolio, and order supplies. My favorite is Talas! There are many, many more tasks on the to-do list, not counting interruptions that will be sure to arrive. And rush requests! We always get a few of those when it's crunch time. I've also got a case study and an article that I'm working on, so hopefully I will get a chance to read a few of the articles I have printed out. Maybe while I'm at the hospital waiting for hours in an uncomfortable lounge chair.
Anyway, happy Lib Day all! Oh, and I almost forgot. If you live in the 'burgh area, I will be teaching a book repair workshop through the Pittsburgh Craft Collective. If you have books that are very personal to you, bring them in and I'll take a look. I would explain that I'm passionate about teaching others, preserving books, blah blah blah. But you get it. :)

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