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, and also studying towards my MSc in Library and Information Studies at City University.
Tuesday 28th July
Tuesday started off much the same as Monday, except without the post to open as our part-time library assistant does this on the days she’s in (currently Tuesdays and Thursdays). I picked up the Times to scan through for the current awareness bulletin, and spotted this gem– totally irrelevant to our lawyers of course, but thought my librarian Twitter friends might be interested… Sure enough, about a dozen people retweeted it straight away. And that was my lesson learned for the day – if you want to get re-tweeted, post something about sex and libraries!
Found very little else of interested in the Times, so went on with checking the email alerts for relevant cases, etc. Sent the bulletin to my colleague for checking at about 11.30 – very gratified to find that she had no corrections to make!
Had an email in the morning from a fellow BIALL member about a CILIP event– I’m on the BIALL web committee, and I take responsibility for updating the events calendar, so I added it to the site. Had a general tidy up then went to lunch.
The sky looked a bit ominous when I went out so I decided not to risk the park – just got a sandwich and came back to the office. I spent my lunch hour re-organising my delicious bookmarks – I try to do this every couple of months. Found a few things I’d forgotten about which might actually be useful in my current job, so I tagged them with “work” so I’d remember to come back to them in the afternoon.
After lunch, I decided to subscribe to some RSS feeds for gathering current awareness. I’m going to be taking over producing the weekly alerts for the construction team soon, so I want to start following that information now so I get a feel for the types of things I should be looking out for. I set up a new Google Reader account under my work email address – I prefer to keep work-specific stuff separate from all the general library-related and other interesting feeds I have in my personal Google account. I spent a large part of the afternoon hunting down useful-looking feeds, signing up for email alerts, and browsing through the material I found. A lot of it’s just bewildering to me – I don’t really know anything about construction law, although I am starting to get a handle on the terminology from doing the daily bulletins. I wouldn’t mind doing some kind of course in law once I’ve finished my Masters – I do genuinely find it interesting (although I wouldn’t want to be a lawyer!) and it would be useful to actually understand the research I’m doing.
Had an email mid-afternoon from the library manager – we’re going to do an information audit over the summer, and he wanted to run the proposed schedule by the rest of the library team to see if we had anything to add. He asked me if I’d done anything on information audits in library school – we actually had a lecture on the subject back in October,so I said so. He asked if I had any useful information from it – it’s been 3 years since the last information audit here, so my library school experience probably means I’m the best versed out of us in current practice! I promised to dig out whatever notes I had that might be relevant.
Since I had nothing else that required urgent attention (it was this or loose-leafing…) I logged on to my university’s VLE to have a look at the reading list for the information management module, to see if there was anything useful there on information audits. There were a few recent articles, but they were all from a theoretical rather than a practical viewpoint, which wasn’t tremendously helpful. I decided to try posting a question in one of my groups on LinkedIn – I’ve recently re-discovered LinkedIn as a tool (having set up a profile months ago and ignored it ever since!), and am looking forward to seeing if I get any actual useful responses from this.
The rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful – I caught up on my library RSS feeds, did a bit of shelving and replied to a few emails. I finished at 5.30 and headed off to my second job. I work one evening a week at Gray’s Inn Library, where I did my graduate trainee. Tuesday was actually my last shift there ever– they don’t stay open in the evenings during the Summer recess, and I’ve decided not to go back in September. Now I’m working full time I don’t really need the extra cash any more, and it will be a relief to get my Tuesday evenings back!
Evenings at Gray’s are always nice – it’s such a lovely old library, and usually fairly quiet. I didn’t have any serious enquiries to deal with, just showing people how to use the photocopiers, so I spent the evening helping out with various admin tasks. A recent batch of journal binding had been returned with the apostrophe missing from “Gray’s Inn” on the spine of every single volume – the horror! (This becomes slightly less pedantic when you realise that the binders charge per character printed, and they had in fact charged us for the missing apostrophes – but even if they hadn’t, what self-respecting librarian would allow an incorrectly punctuated volume to stay on the shelves??) After complaints, the binders had agreed to take the volumes back and correct the punctuation, so I rounded up the offending volumes and piled them into boxes, ready to be sent off.
I finished at Gray’s at 7.40 (should have been 8 but the assistant librarian very kindly let me go early, since it was so quiet), handed back my key, wiped away a tear as I bid farewell to the library which gave me my formative experiences of librarianship (no joke – was quite an emotional moment for me!), and headed home.