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!
Tuesday 19th January
Arrived at work at about 9.25, made a round of tea and settled down to work. Didn’t have to do the post or the journals this morning as we have a part-time assistant who comes in Tuesdays and Thursdays to do the admin stuff. Started scanning the papers and updates for material for the Legal News Updater. Had a bit of a rage at the Times website – I don’t know if this is just a problem with our network, but it’s been really difficult to get into their website recently: runs veeeeery sloooowly, and frequently crashes my browser. Found the articles I was looking for in the end, but not before venting my rage on Twitter!
Got the LNU finished and sent out by 11, then did a bit of cataloguing. The head of our construction practice had been sent a set of books on Czech arbitration law as a gift from the publisher, apparently in recognition of his pre-eminence in his field (which would have been more impressive if the letter announcing this hadn’t been an obvious generic template, addressed to “Dear Customer”!). He of course had no idea what to do with these books, so sent them to us to add to the collection. I’m fairly certain they will remain, untouched, exactly where I’ve shelved them until the end of time. Having said that, we do occasionally get some very obscure queries, so who knows – if next month we get a panicked phone call from a trainee who’s been asked to source an English copy of the Czech Act on Arbitration, I shall eat my words!
Had a scan through my construction RSS feeds and alerts, then spent the half hour before lunch going through our missing books list. I ran a report from our LMS just before Christmas, which showed about 90 titles marked as “missing” on the catalogue – I took the opportunity in the quiet period between christmas and new year to have a rummage around some empty offices, and found about a dozen of them, so now I’m seeing what can be done about the rest. I’ve just been going through the list finding out what’s still in print, what’s been replaced by a newer edition, and what’s available for free online (a surprising amount is, which is good news for our budget!). I doubt we’ll actually buy many new copies unless anyone specifically asks for them, but it’s good to know what we can and can’t get hold of just in case.
Went on lunch at 12.30 – did a bit of faffing around with the SLA Europe twitterfeed, which wasn’t updating for some reason. Also had an email/Twitter conversation with thewikiman about library advocacy – we decided to try to gather some thoughts and examples of best practices via Twitter, with the view to co-writing a blog post about it.
On enquiries again in the afternoon – had to leave my desk and sit at the “official” enquiry desk as there aren’t enough desks for all of us when the part-time assistant is in. We all hate the enquiry desk – it’s draughty, the PC is slow and only runs IE6, and has a tiny monitor. There were no enquiries to take over when I started so I spent the first half an hour adding some events I’d been sent to the BIALL website. Once that was done I spent a bit more time on the missing books list.
An enquiry came in at around 2.30 – one of our Professional Support Lawyers (PSLs) wanted us to check through a list of recent key cases to see if any of them had gone to appeal. It was a pretty straightforward job, but very time-consuming – there were pages and pages of them! I worked on that until 4, when it was time for our fortnightly meeting with the PSLs.
The meetings are always pretty informal – it’s just a way to catch up with what everyone is working on, and see if there’s anything else the library can do to better support the PSLs. We talked about the current “hot topics” we’re monitoring, and about a new database we’re putting together. We already maintain in-house databases of expert witnesses and counsel that the firm has used, incorporating any feedback that lawyers who’ve instructed them have given, so we’re now looking at doing the same for translation companies. We get asked in the library for details of reliable translators quite often.
The meeting went on for about 45 minutes, then I headed back to the enquiry desk. A couple of email enquiries had come in while I’d been away, so I answered those – they were quickies – then finished off checking the list of cases for appeals. By the time I’d done that I only had 20 minutes left, so I spent that time catching up with my mailing lists, reading the most recent CILIP e-bulletin, and reading through the notes I’d made from last night’s Legal Foundation Course. Finished at 5.30 and headed home, where my mister had cooked haggis, neeps and tatties for tea – bit early for Burns Night, but proper comfort food! Blogged Monday’s day in the life and sorted out a few bits for my holiday, then crashed out early again.