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Library Day in the Life: Monday

I know I’m very late coming to this, but I found out yesterday about the “Library day in the life” meme. I’m really enjoying reading through everything posted so far, and could see taking part as particularly useful for me – at the start of my career, just started a new job, should be useful to look back on maybe this time next year!

So, here’s the start of a week in the life of an information assistant at a London law firm…

Monday 27th July

Woke up at 6.45 to the dulcet tones of Chris Moyles (yes, I know… Radio 4 is too easy to sleep through. Moyles usually annoys me enough to actually wake me up!). Had a cup of tea, showered, ironed a shirt, giggled at Monday’s xkcd comic, got dressed, generally faffed around a bit and left the house at 8.30. I have no idea what happens to my morning really – all that doesn’t sound like it should take nearly two hours but if I get up any later then I don’t leave the house on time!

Arrived at work at about 9.20 – I actually start at 9.30 so I made a cup of tea and checked Twitter before I started working.

My mornings follow a pretty standard routine. I start by opening the post, distributing any invoices and checking in the journals, then printing off circulation slips and dropping any journals that are circulated in the internal mail. Then I scan through one of the papers for items for the daily current awareness bulletins – there are four of us in the library, we each take one of the broadsheets each day (we don’t get the Guardian, it doesn’t really cover much that we’re interested in). I did the Independent on Monday – usually the dull one out of the four, there’s rarely anything we need to know about in the Indy. Monday was no exception, I didn’t pull anything of relevance out.

It’s my job to actually compile the bulletin, so the rest of my morning was spent going through the email alerts we get from various legal news services for any cases, new legislation, guidance notes and news articles that relate to any of our practice areas. I’m getting the hang of what’s relevant and what isn’t now – my first couple of weeks on the job I was doing this alongside one of the other library staff members so she could check I wasn’t missing anything or including anything I didn’t need to, but now someone just looks over it before I send it out. The rest of the library team all have their own journals that they scan through for the practice areas they look after (I don’t have one yet, but I’m going to be taking over the construction stuff within the next few weeks), so they send me stuff as and when they find it. I collate everything I have so far, along with the things I’ve pulled out from the email alerts and newspaper scanning, into the daily email which I aim to send out by midday.

I finished the current awareness bulletin by 11.30, so I spent the next hour tidying up the library area, checking in some books which had been returned, and replying to some non-urgent emails which had come in while I was doing the bulletin.

I went on lunch at 12.30. I like to try and get outside at lunchtime, if it’s not tipping it down – the library has one tiny window, with a lovely view of a brick wall, so it’s nice to get some natural daylight! This also allows me to check my personal email – Gmail is blocked at work, so I can only check my mail on my smartphone, but I don’t get a signal inside the office. I sat in the park nearby to eat my sandwich, and read my book for a while (the ever-riveting “Questionnaire design, interviewing and attitude measurement” – something for my thesis!).

I was back at work in time for my afternoon shift on the enquiry desk, from 1.30 to 5.30. It’s fairly quiet on the enquiry front at the moment – lots of people on holiday! I try to have something I can do at my desk when I’m on enquiries, in case it’s quiet – on monday I was mainly loose-leafing :( Had a few, reasonably straightforward enquiries throughout the afternoon, then one absolute bastard of an enquiry about 45 minutes before I finished for the day (something about a city council’s accounts). I didn’t manage to finish it before I left, so I noted down everything I’d found so far and my manager said we could go through it the following day (luckily it wasn’t urgent!).

I had to get off because I had an appointment with my dissertation supervisor in the evening. This was the first time I’d seen her in over a month, and she was rather unimpressed with my lack of progress! In my defence, I went to four conferences (two of which officially needed writing up for my kind sponsors, the other two I blogged anyway, just for teh lulz) and started a new job immediately after submitting my proposal. Basically, she’s not that impressed with people working while studying anyway – she’s a bit of a die-hard academic! I actually agree with her in principle – my studies absolutely take priority (just ask my family and friends!) and I would love to be able to just study and do nothing else for a year. Unfortunately, I gotta eat!

4 comments on “Library Day in the Life: Monday

  1. It’s pretty harsh that an academic teaching on a distance learning course doesn’t approve of people working whilst studying!

    I’m the opposite of you – I prioritise my dissertation LOW down the list, waaaay behind family (well, behind The Wife™ anyway) and a bit behind work. Which is probably why I’ll end up with a much worse mark than you will….

    • It’s actually not a distance learning course – a lot of people do treat it as such, but it isn’t officially supported for distance learners. I suspect this is something that will change – I don’t think the current model is sustainable, very few people are actually able to study without working.

      I think the whole study/work/life balance is something everyone has to work out for themselves, there’s no “right” way of doing it. I made the choice that I was going to sacrifice my social life for the sake of my studies, but in the knowledge that it would only be for a year!

  2. Eat?!? EAT?!!?? Why, surely the delicious taste of academic endeavour should be ample sustenance? ;)

  3. Ah I see… well, the ‘just for a year bit’ – thank your lucky stars! Distance learning over two years = a tunnel so long you can’t imagine any light at the end of it. I don’t know how people at those places which offer the course over 3 or even 5 years cope – I just want to get it done, so I can return to a normal weekend existence..

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