Monday, January 24, 2011

Day in the Life of a Librarian (part one)

This post is part of the Library Day in the Life, round 6. It's a collection of short paragraphs I'll write over the course of the week describing what I do!

Getting Started

The drive in today was a bit of a challenge. Nothing too bad, but it's winter in Michigan, so the roads weren't great. That's the biggest drawback to the university I work at - it's located basically in the middle of nowhere so no matter what you have a ~30 minute drive. Normally I take the bus, but when it's in single digits, I don't want to wait outside.

This morning I did a little more set up in my new cube - bringing in some snacks and tea, and my new hot water pot! We had a colleague move on to another position (we're all really happy for her! it's an amazing opportunity), so there was a cubicle shuffle. I now have an amazing view out the window, so I can actually see the trees and falling snow. Quite lovely. After that, I answered some email, including scheduling 2 more library instruction sessions with one of my favorite professors (he can always be relied upon to ask me in AND tell me that I've really helped his students!).

Then, our new librarian came in (well sort of new, she worked here a few years ago, and has come back). It's her first day, so there have been lots of visitors welcoming her back and generally chatting. Then a quick trip downstairs to grab a cookie (we have a few birthdays this week, and people will generally bring something in for the staff to munch).

Collection Development

I decided to spend the morning finishing up some collection development decisions. I'm in charge of Political Science, International Relations, Geography, and Geology (as well as Government Documents), so I purchase a variety of materials. Today I had to finish going through Choice Reviews, check if we already owned the book (or if we had access through EBL, one of our vendors), and then sort the book into one of my purchasing folders. I remember being in grad school and wondering how librarians chose what to buy, and honestly, sometimes we just make educated guesses. I look at what classes are being offered, what my faculty are interested in, what topics students have contacted me about and what other institutions are buying. It's an inexact science, but it certainly is interesting to see what's being published. I especially enjoy it because I studied political science as an undergraduate.

Library Instruction

On Wednesday I have my first library instruction session of the semester, so I need to update the powerpoint presentation I used last year. This is a 300 level class on international political economy, so we cover a couple of important resources, as well as how to write an annotated bibliography (which technically is the responsibility of the writing center, rather than the library, but I'm not going to quibble). That only took about an hour, so now I wait for confirmation from the professor that I'm covering what she wants. The rest of my day will be taken up reviewing some materials for the next class I'm teaching and doing some basic lesson planning.

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