A day in the life: Assistant Librarian

Maybe it’s just me, but I always love to read “Day-in-the-life” stories from people, no matter what field they work in. Some are obviously far more exciting than others, but we can’t all video blog about brushing our teeth in space a la Chris Hadfield! As I’d like to hear more about other library and information professionals’ everyday work, I thought I’d better write about mine and maybe start a trend!

Thursday 2nd Oct 2014

Today was just a typical day (if a little shorter than normal) for me at Maynooth University Library, where I work part-time as an Assistant Librarian…

Maynooth University Library

Maynooth University Library

I get in and turn on my PC at about 9:15, I hate getting in after 9, but now that term has started the bus I get takes a lot longer. Luckily I have flexi-time so it’s not a big deal, I just prefer starting the day a bit earlier.

I catch up with emails as I wasn’t in yesterday, confirm that I can go to a proposed meeting, make a note of an email about the Special Collections information to be included in LibGuides, and send another LibGuide related email to a different colleague. There are a few emails about an upcoming LAI event that I am looking after the bookings for. I check the numbers that have booked so far and answer a query.

At about 10 I go to our old website and pull out content from a subject guide there that needs to be moved into one of our LibGuides. As the whole university recently moved to a new website, there is some information that was in the old site that needs moving to the new one, and is being updated in the process. I access the subject pages on the old site and copy links to recommended websites for each subject. In consultation with the subject librarians, these then need to be added to the appropriate page of our newly developed LibGuides. These are mini-sites designed to make finding resources suitable to each subject area a bit easier for the students.

I take my break at 11, sitting in the kitchen with a couple of colleagues. The conversation moves from porridge, to restaurants, and on to a local art exhibition.

The atrium in the new library

The atrium of the new library

At 11.30 I meet with a colleague who was away when I gave a presentation to the staff on the results of the Library’s LibQual results. I go through the main highlights and we discuss further work that will be done on analysis and the promotion of the results. In our conversation about users’ satisfaction with access to the collections, an interesting point is raised about how eBooks are used and if we need to provide more information on licensing and simultaneous use.

After the meeting it is  a bit after 12 and I spend some time editing slides and screenshots to include in an online tutorial for one of our databases. I then have to record some new audio to accompany these changes. Listening back to the sound of your own voice and then listening again after making slight changes is a relatively painful experience and not something you want to spend too long doing!

As a creature of habit, my tummy starts grumbling a little before 1 and I take my lunch break between 1 and 2.

Having caught up with one of the Subject Librarians after lunch I go back to the LibGuides to make some changes to the content, check the recommended databases are updated and tidy up the URLs for pages that have been changed.

At 3.15 I attend a LIST (Library Information Skills Training) Session on Searching the Library Collection. I am just attending this session to gain an insight into the delivery style and content of other staff as I will be starting to do some training myself in the coming weeks.

Russell Library. Cuneiform Tablets Exhibition Launch. Photos by Alan Monahan (59)

Russell Library. Cuneiform Tablets Exhibition. Photo by Alan Monahan.

As I mentioned, I work flexi-time, meaning I can work my 20 hours in the way best suits both work commitments and my own schedule. So today I finish up at 4pm in time to go across to the Russell Library to an event celebrating  a collection of cuneiform tablets dating from 3400 BC to 1900 BC held by the library. The event included a guest lecture by Klaus Wagensonner of the Cuneiform Digial Library Initiative (CDLI) and an opportunity to view some of this rare collection. The Russell Library has the second largest collection of these tablets after the Chester Beatty Library. Despite my love of all things technology related in the library environment, it is still incredibly exciting to work somewhere that holds such amazing historical collections.



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Posted in Employment
One comment on “A day in the life: Assistant Librarian
  1. Caroline says:

    Loved reading about your work day Shona. Always great to hear what other librarians are doing in their daily lives. Keep up the great blogging.

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