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Library Day in the Life, Round 4: Monday

I am taking part in the Library Day in the Life this week. I am currently working as an information assistant at a London law firm. The eagle-eyed reader may notice that these posts were written last week – I am on holiday at the moment, celebrating the end of my MSc in Library and Information Studies, so decided to write these early so I could still take part. I thought lots of posts talking about my holiday this week would probably just annoy people!

Monday 18th January

I was off work sick for the second half of last week, so I got in a little early today to give myself a bit of time to clear my inbox. That turned out to be a good plan – I had over 130 unread emails! Spent about 10 minutes scanning to see what was urgent, what could wait and what could be deleted. That took me up to 9.30, which is when I officially start work.

It’s my job to open and distribute the post, and check in and circulate any journals that have come in, so I did that first. I spent most of the rest of my morning compiling the Legal News Updater (LNU) – the daily current awareness bulletin we send to all fee-earners. Each of the library team (there are four of us) takes one of the papers to scan through for anything of interest to any of our practice groups – anything relevant gets sent to me. I then go through the daily legal updaters we get from Lawtel, Westlaw and LexisNexis; looking for any recent cases, legislation, Parliamentary bills or news that needs to be passed on. I put everything into an email template, sorted by practice area, then send it out. I got the LNU sent out by midday today – that’s a bit longer than it usually takes me, but there were a few interruptions throughout the morning. That’s why I don’t like calling in sick – it just means people bombard you with stuff when you get back in!

While I’d been working on the LNU, my boss had spotted an out-of-office from one of our construction lawyers which stated that she was on maternity leave as of today. We were all a bit baffled by this, as we usually get advanced notice if anyone is leaving or going on long-term leave, so he emailed the HR department to check on it. They confirmed that this was indeed the case, so I cancelled all the alerts we’d set up for her and took her off the journal circulation lists. A few months ago, this particular lawyer had asked me to start sending her a weekly update of all construction tenders issued in England. Compiling that wasn’t a difficult job, but it was mind-numbingly tedious, so I was secretly a bit relieved not to have to do it for a while!

As well as the general stuff that goes in the LNU, we sometimes get asked to monitor the press for specific cases, companies, events, etc. I’ve got about half a dozen topics I’m monitoring at the moment – I get email alerts from Westlaw news, Google news and some subject-specific sites. I spent about half an hour going through my alerts and forwarding on anything relevant, then went to lunch.

At lunchtime I was hoping to pick up the Egyptian currency I’d ordered from the Post Office at the weekend. Sadly it wasn’t there yet, so I just had a wander around the shops instead. Bought some high factor sun cream from Boots – felt a bit wierd buying sun cream when it was so cold outside!

Back to work ready to take over the enquiry desk at 1.30. It had apparently been quiet through the morning – there was nothing that needed finishing off when I took over – and it stayed dead quiet all afternoon. I only handled two enquiries, and they were both quickies. Quite a nice change really, and it gave me a chance to catch up on everything I missed last week!

In the morning I’d had a request from one of our construction lawyers to look out for any press on a recent Technology and Construction Court judgment, so I spent about half an hour searching for articles and setting up some new alerts. Found a few bits which I sent on – the lawyer in question responded by calling me a “princess”. Always nice to be appreciated!

Spent the next hour going through some emails I’d flagged in the morning as needing attention. Dealt with various issues including chasing up some missing books, updating my fellow BIALL and SLA committee members on what I’d been working on, and activating an online subscription.

I produce a weekly update on news about our key construction clients, so I spent the next hour going through the construction press. I have RSS feeds set up from all the main construction journals so it usually doesn’t take me that long, but as I’d been away I had a lot more unread items than usual and I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

Spent about 15 minutes on CPD – read through a couple of newsletters and mailing list posts that looked interesting. Then went through the construction practice area of the intranet, which I maintain, looking for broken links – a dull job, but I try to do it every couple of months.

Fancied a break from my desk by then, so I did a bit of shelving and tidying. Pulled out a couple of duplicate journal issues to add to the list ready for the BIALL Duplicates Exchange which is in a couple of weeks.

That took me up to 5.00, so I spent my last half an hour tidying up a few odds and ends. I added some events to the BIALL web page (I’m on the web committee – it’s my responsibility to look out for events of interest to BIALL members and add them to the events calendar), edited the construction intranet pages to include some recent reports, and read through the notes for my evening class. I’m doing the BIALL Legal Foundations Course, and tonight’s lecture was on human rights law – something I find very interesting on a personal level, but unfortunately is not relevant at all to the work I do in my current job! Left work at 5.30 and headed over to the University of Westminster for the course. It was a fascinating evening as always, but I was shattered when I got home! Don’t think I’m quite recovered after being so ill last week – the long day today really took it out of me. I got home about 8.30, watched a bit of crap telly and crashed out early.

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