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Take everything I listed yesterday and put it on today. I’m playing catch up since I was out sick yesterday. Throw in my supervisor’s retirement party and it’s a busy Friday.

existential-makeover
(This cartoon has nothing to do with anything.)

Friday’s around here are generally fairly quiet. It’s dress down day, so I wear jeans and a college sweatshirt of some sort. The college went to a 4-day class schedule this semester, so there aren’t many students around although we do have a few in the library using our computers. The whole atmosphere tends to be a bit more laid-back though.

I was going to wait until Monday to weed our new book shelf, but I might add that to my to-do list today since it looks like it’s getting a bit stuffed. Or I’ll do a bit of shifting on those shelves. It’s one of those things that seems picky, but the books won’t move as fast if the shelves are too full. One of those visual aesthetic things. And I want our books to move.

There is a tour coming in on Monday afternoon. My instruction schedule is picking up now. So, I’ll spend a bit of time this afternoon preparing for that. I don’t like last minute prep because I tend to forget things, so when I have some advance notice, I take advantage of it.

Definitely not a typical day for me. I’m home sick. Seems that I’ve caught the creeping crud. I was feeling pretty nasty already last night – sore throat, achy, headache, exhausted, etc. – and woke up this morning with a congested cough and even less energy. I debated for a bit and decided that it would just be better to stay home and rest. I’ve got a dr. appointment tomorrow anyway, so if I’m still sickly, I can always chat with her about it.
sick
If I was at work, my day would have involved this stuff:
1. Taking care of overdues
2. Pulling interlibrary loans
3. Working on the LRC brochure (we don’t really have anything cohesive currently)
4. Making up a new books poster
5. Starting work on a new display for mid-February
6. Beginning some work on National Library Week (in April)
7. A web training session on putting together a technology plan
(from our system and I can do it at a later date)
8. More ordering
9. Doing the online sexual harassment training required by the college
10. More work on the interesting reference question

A couple of the things I might do from home this afternoon if I perk up a bit. If not, there is nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow. For now, I’ll just be drinking lots of fluids and hanging out on the sofa reading and knitting. Just don’t have the energy for much else. The good thing about colds/flu is you do get better.

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Typical morning. Unlock office, turn computer on, get coffee, check email and day’s task list, work on overdues, etc.

This morning I have a training. So, I had to check emails to see what room we’re meeting in. Looks like it will be over in one of our computer labs. I also had to print directions for my afternoon meeting.

I’m looking forward to the afternoon meeting. It’s a reference librarian meeting for those in the system. I haven’t had a chance to meet many librarians in IL yet, so I’m excited about getting a bit more connected. I’m also looking for ideas of how to reach out more to the students here. We don’t get many reference questions and I know that it’s not because they don’t have questions. I’ve got some ideas percolating right now and plan to try something out in the next few weeks. And this is a monthly meeting, so it will become a regular part of my schedule.

Before I get immersed in the morning training, I do have a reference question to work on. This one came over the state’s virtual librarian system and was referred to me since it directly relates to our campus. I’m not sure what I’ll find, but it should be an interesting search.

I also need to work on staff schedule this morning. I try to put out a month’s worth of schedules at a time, but we’ve had a few changes due to some meetings and other things. So, it needs to be updated and some things changed around so I have coverage when it’s needed.

Once I get back in town this evening, I plan to stay home. Normally I’d be in the Quad Cities for Stitch and Bitch, but I don’t feel like doing more driving today. (The afternoon meeting is in East Peoria…the opposite direction.) Tonight I plan to make some chili and relax a bit. I’ve got a stack of books that are waiting to be read, so I hope to have some quality time with a good story. I also haven’t picked up the knitting needles this week and have a project I need to get stitching.
knitter
I’m glad that I’ve got a full day in the LRC tomorrow. There are a couple of projects that I’ll be focusing on. More about that tomorrow!

I did not want to get out my cozy warm bed this morning and deal with another cold day. It was one of those days when I almost wished I was sick or injured so I could just stay home. And I like my job and my workplace. But winter has worn a bit thin on me this week. And I like winter!
coldday
Today is a long day for me because I have class this evening. So, before heading off to work, I harvested some lettuce from the Aerogarden, slathered some cream cheese on a bagel for breakfast, and grabbed a container of leftovers for lunch and supper. Also had to grab my instruction manual for my camera, the recharged camera battery, and the actual camera.
zi2
It was time to head to work. Most mornings, after taking off my coat and turning on my computer, I head straight for the coffee pot. This morning was no exception. Coffee in hand, I sat down at my desk and prepared to deal with overdue notices. One was quickly taken care of by renewing all the books on the patron’s account. It was a faculty member, and I’ve started extending the courtesy of just renewing items for them and sending them a reminder email that they have something checked out. Seems to be going over well. I have to check on another book that I’m certain I saw come back, but it still showing up as checked out and overdue. Sometimes I have to go check the shelves to make sure because things do slip through. Once I’ve done all my checks, I pass the notices along to one of the part-time people. She’ll do a final search to make sure I didn’t miss something and then mail the notice out.

I had my last meeting with my direct supervisor today. She is retiring at the end of the week. She’s been a great help as I got acclimated and accustomed to my new position. Her part is Friday and I still need to figure out what dish I’m bringing to share and I need to pick up a gift certificate for the local quilt shop. She plans to learn to quilt now that she’ll have the time.
forn867l
This afternoon I will work on any ILL requests that have come in today. I will also work on more ordering now that I have the notable books list for 2009 from ALA. I also plan to finish up the January faculty newsletter and do some more work on our LRC brochure.

Tonight is photography class. Sometime in the late afternoon, I will break away from work for awhile to wander about and get some pictures to bring to class. I’ve got to get in the habit of bringing my camera with me everywhere I go because I’ve seen some good shots this week. Unfortunately I can download them from my brain.

At the end of the long day, I’ll head home to relax and maybe read a bit before going to bed. It’s amazing how little time I spend reading, even though I am a librarian. Some people think that’s all we do all day.

It’s time for round two of Day in the Life of a Librarian. However, like many librarians, I don’t have one day that is really like all other days. So, you’ll be subjected treated to a whole week.

My morning started with a training visit. I’m still getting familiar with our circulation system and while I’m quite comfortable with it at this point, I did have some questions and a few modules to learn more about it. It was quite informative.

After I get done with this post, I plan to go pull books for Interlibrary Loan requests. The whole process will take about a 1/2 hour.

Then I leave campus to head to the Quad Cities campus for orientation. Over the next few months, I will be going there at least twice a month for different training things as I continue to get familiar with supervision stuff and the whole college. Fortunately we have vans that I can use so I don’t have to burn my own gas.

I’ll be in the Quad Cities for the rest of the afternoon and although I’ll return to campus when I get back to town, I’ll be done for the day.

I do plan to work out after getting back. We have a small fitness center on campus that is free for employees to use. So I intend to start making use of it.

Then it will be home for dinner and knitting.

That doesn’t sound right. I should say this is the last day I’m going the “day in a librarian life” for now. Still thinking about coming back to it in the fall when things are very different around here with instruction and whatnot.

Anyway, I worked the desk first thing this morning. But even before that, I was doing stuff to get ready to head home for the weekend. Fridays are probably my favorite day of the week, because by the evening I’m back with DH and the dogs. (You might wonder why I’m applying for the job in AK if I miss my family over a week. The answer is because this is a dream that can’t be passed up. We’ll figure it out if I actually get the job…and that’s a huge long shot.)

The rest of the day has been spent mostly at my desk. Still doing little things for the Summer Institute. A couple of last minute registrations have trickled in and one cancellation. I’ll need to do a couple of updates to the catering order next week to make sure we have enough drinks for everyone for the day. And there is a bit of supply shopping I’m going to do tomorrow. I keep feeling like I’m forgetting something major because this has went so smoothly.

There were a couple of other small things that I had to do today, but those were quickly taken care of. Mostly preliminary discussions/planning about some events for the fall. And I worked on my advance for an upcoming conference. Hopefully that will be waiting for me when I get back from vacation. It will help cover the hotel, so I don’t have so much initially out of pocket.

I’ve been doing some internal debate about attending Internet Librarian this fall. It’s a great conference, but it will more than blow the rest of my travel budget. At least Mountain Plains Library Association is in Kansas next year. But ACRL is in Seattle and that’s going to be an expensive one. It’s interesting to figure out how to stretch dollars until they scream. I think librarians have to do this with so many things – travel budgets, book budgets, electronic resource budgets.

Which reminds me that we’ll be starting some of those discussions early next month in Collection Development. Flat budgets and increasing costs do not equal happy librarians at all. But I work with good people and we’ll figure it out.

Even though I’m on vacation next week, I’ll probably do a bit of work from home. The main reason is because we do have a couple of things in the works and I don’t want to entirely lose momentum right now. And if I think of something that might work or have some brilliant flash of inspiration, I don’t want to forget it before I get back on July 28. Still I do intend to enjoy the in-laws visit and get some relaxing, knitting, and reading in.

This isn’t really how a Thursday looks. It’s a look at the library where I work.

My day today started out with a department meeting. Things to discuss before some of us head off for vacations and other places in the next couple of weeks. After that, I spent most of the day working on finishing up things for the Summer Institute. I still need to make a Staples run for a few more supplies, but I think things are good.

Tonight I’m going to the community band concert with a friend. After a nap and some dinner.

As I’ve been working on this meme, I’m realizing how incredibly boring my work probably seems to an outside, non-library type. In the summers, it can even be that way sometimes for us reference librarians.

We have had a busier days here and there during the past few months, but generally, things are fairly quiet and slow…at least on the public side. Of course, that’s what most people see. I’ve only taught one class this summer and haven’t had any reference consultations.

Still, lots of work is being done behind the scenes on different projects.

Today did start with something very different than the usual. Wednesday usually don’t start until the afternoon since I work the evening desk shift. However, I volunteered to help out with storytimes this week since the person who does them is vacationing in Mexico with a bunch of teenage girls right now. (That doesn’t sound like much of a vacation when you think about it!) So at 10 am I was dealing with a bunch of squirrely 3-year olds. I’d forgotten how kids that age like to ask questions about everything, comment on everything, and wiggle and squiggle everywhere. Cute, but also kind of draining. *laugh*

A co-worker got us organized later in the morning to head over to the staff/faculty dining room for a Mongolian Wok lunch experience. It was fun and the food was good for a change. (Usually it’s all buttery or gravy covered stuff that I don’t particularly care for.) I learned some more about my co-workers while we relaxed and stuffed ourselves with stir-fry and fortune cookies.

After returning to the library, I headed off to my cube to work some more on the Summer Institute. The main thing today was to put together the food order. While there are still a couple of days left for people to register, I wanted to get this taken care of. I can always tweak things a bit if I need to. Being the chair of this is somewhat stress-inducing because I want the day to go well and for people to find it useful. This has really involved stepping way outside my comfort zone.

Every two weeks we have a full library staff meeting. This usually takes up about an hour of the afternoon. Today the big topic was the building. This fall/winter we are starting a rather large renovation project of the area of the building where tech services, the business office, and the dean’s office are. In the next few weeks (hopefully before fall semester starts), tech services will be moving out of their current space into our new study rooms on the first floor. There have already been some changes on the first floor involving new carpeting, paint, and compact shelving (installed last summer). Next week we will be getting new furniture for that floor. Exciting stuff! And we now have a library news blog to keep people updated with all the stuff that’s going on around here.

After the staff meeting, I headed home for a nap and break. Now I’m back working the reference desk for the evening. My big plans for the evening include some weeding, reading some book reviews, working some more on future books displays, and considering more ways to revamp our current instruction sessions for the Comp I classes.

If I have time tomorrow, I might catch some video of the building here and share that with you. Besides hearing about what I do, I’ll share where I actually do it.

Last night I saw Hancock. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but not a bad movie overall. I’d recommend waiting to rent it on DVD.

Nothing fancy today because Tuesdays in the summer look a lot like Mondays. Still working on weeding, gift books, working the reference desk, etc. No meetings today. Like I said, the usual grind…that’s not really a grind because I like my job and the work that I get to do.

I sat down last night and read The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Not a particularly inspiring title, but it was really insightful and interesting. The basic idea is that there are three things that managers can do to make people happy with their work. First, help employees find ways to measure what they do. This is really a simple concept and doesn’t involve big lofty goals. For example, for a reference librarian, it could be something as simple as counting the number of questions that we are able to answer correctly in a day. The second concept is helping employees realize why they are relevant in the workplace. Every person makes a difference to someone somehow. And it’s important for employees to know who and how. Managers can help them see this. Easy, right? The third concept is making sure employees don’t feel anonymous. It means that managers need to get to know their employees as more than just the people who do the work around the place.

I’m not a manager right now, but there were still some really good principles that I can apply to how I approach my job. I do try to find out things about the people I work most closely with. Not because I’m nosy, but because I do want people to feel that they are important.

As to measurable stuff, my to-do list is good for that. It gives me satisfaction when I’ve made it through most of the things in a day. No big lofty goals on it, just stuff that I want to make sure I work on each day. Actually that’s why I like using Remember the Milk. There are projects that I’m working on that I set up to recur daily, a few times a week, once a week…whatever I need. But maybe I’ll start keeping track of other things, like how many smiles I can coax out of people when I’m working the desk.

The relevance thing is a bit harder to do on your own because it really requires some support and feedback from other people. I’m not the type who goes digging for compliments, but if I’m not getting feedback, these days I’ll ask for it. I know that what I do is helpful to other people, patrons and co-workers both, but I do check in occasionally to make sure that I’m on the right track. And I try to make sure that I let other people know how they are relevant to me.

There are times in the past year when I’ve really wanted to give-up. I’m glad that I didn’t cut and run because I’ve learned a lot and have come out stronger. I’m invested in making things better and working through the tough stuff. I realized this last night when I picked up the book, one of many I’ve read recently about management, employees, leadership, and other things that will help improve my workplace. Somewhere I turned a corner. It feels good.

A final thought for today relates to customer service. When I got my usual Monday coffee at the shop that’s most convenient on my commute, I saw a sign announcing that they would be going out of business yesterday. Although I was disappointed because this is truly the only drive through place on the way, I wasn’t all that surprised. See, I don’t think they ever really understood some of the principles of good customer service. (I will say that there were some other things working against them as well in terms of development in the area not happening on schedule.) The woman that always seemed to be there when I drove up on Mondays had a personality as flat and bland as a pancake. She never smiled and made you feel like she was doing you a favor to serve you. Yeah. One of the main reasons I like going to Starbuck’s here in LittleUtown (beside the convenience of the drive-up window) is the fact that baristas are always smiling, chatty, and pleasant. I know they aren’t just waiting around for me to drive by and get an over-priced cup of coffee, but they certainly make me feel that way. My point is that attitude can really make a huge difference in how successful a business (or a library) is. Guess I’ll have to start making my own coffee on Monday mornings.

And a chance to play around more with my Flip camera and Windows Movie Maker (which really isn’t a bad little piece of software considering it’s usually already installed on your computer.)


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July 2020
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Upcoming

Mar. 10 - Photography Class

Mar. 11 - Quad Cities SnB

Mar. 12 - Lincoln Reenactor performance at BHE

Mar. 13 - Annual budget due

Mar. 14 - SnB trip to Galena

Mar. 16-21 - Spring Break

Mar. 16-18 - On the Front Lines library conference in Springfield

Mar. 19-22 - In Kansas

Mar. 23 - Orientation in Quad Cities

Mar. 24 - Photography Class

Mar. 26 - Spring Break for Academic Librarians workshop in Peoria

Mar. 27 - Supervisor Development in Quad Cities

Apr. 2 - Using Social Technologies in Library Instruction workshop

Apr. 6 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 6 - My birthday

Apr. 7 - Photography Class

Apr. 9-12 - In Kansas

Apr. 10 - College Closed

Apr. 12 - Easter

Apr. 13-19 - National Library Week

Apr. 13 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 14 - Photography Class

Apr. 16 - Evening Instruction Session

Apr. 17 - Information Literacy Summit

Apr. 18 - A Day of Books and Quilts at Toulon Public Library

Apr. 20 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 21 - Photography Class

Apr. 22 - Renegade Reference meeting in Bloomington

Apr. 23 - Illinois Library Day

Apr. 24 - Quarterly Supervisors Meeting

Apr. 27 - Weight Watchers

Apr. 28 - Photography Class

Apr. 29 - Supervisor Training in Quad Cities

May 5 - Photography Class

May 12 - National Library Legislative Day

May 25 - Memorial Day - College Closed

June 4 - RSA Users' Group meeting in Peoria

June 6 - SIL's birthday June 6 - Brother and SIL Anniversary

June 8 - Nancy Pearl at Bradley University

June 13 - WWKIP train trip to St. Louis

July 3 - Holiday - College Closed

July 4 - Independence Day

July 10 - Mom's Birthday

July 10-15 - ALA Annual Conference in Chicago

July 17-19 - Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in Crystal Lake, IL

July 31 - 10th Anniversary

Sept. 7 - Labor Day, College closed

Oct. 6-9 - Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Peoria

Nov. 23 - Brother's birthday

Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving Day, College closed

Nov. 27 - College Closed

Dec. 7 - MIL's birthday

Dec. 18 - DH's birthday

Dec. 25 - Christmas Day

Dec. 26 - Dad's birthday

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