Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Library Day in the Life

Library day in the life is cool, but let's face it when 100 librarians all write about their day, no one has time to read through them all. So I arbitrarily did my ditl today.
9am - wake up. I'm the latenight librarian today, so I can sleep in, but I also have to be in the library until it closes at 9:00pm.
9:30-10:30am - I am incredibly vigilant on Twitter, tweeting more than I have in the past week, carrying on a conversation about podcasts, social media, publishing, & pushing out links to interesting content, including the Nonbreaking Space Show and a HackLibSchool article on "New Librarianship" (I have a thing for vacuous buzzwords, from "transliteracy" to "HTML5").
10:45am-11:45am - my hour-long drive to work, listening to Nebuchadnezzar, Aphex Twin, & Four Tet until a dull Actress song comes on & I feel relaxed enough to switch to a podcast on objects in JavaScript. The podcast is mostly over my head.
11:45am - arrive, deal with emails, agree to no less than three meetings next week. And it's a truncated week.
12:30pm - update the production version of the library's mobile website to the latest stable of jQuery Mobile, add the Apple mobile web app capable meta tag as an experiment. I intend to make a screencast on how to "save to home screen" so students can treat the mobile website as an app.
12:45pm - a student shows up a bit late to our appointment. We're doing a "website evaluation" assignment for a Health & Wellness class & I love it. I usually compare-&-contract an academic research article with a web page, ramble about author qualifications, diatribe about references. Fun times. Another tip I like to slip in on the sly is RSS: what it is & how to use it to analyze when a website last published an article. I find that students don't know what RSS is (I have had precisely 1 student who did, while almost every other student says "I've seen that orange icon, but I don't know what it is").
1:15pm - add another image & some formatting to a presentation I'm giving to an English Literature class this evening.
1:30pm - meeting for the campus sustainability operations group. I am their data guru so my agenda item was what data we have (almost none), what we're working on, & future considerations. A couple people instantly chimed in with ideas for grabbing more data, including surveying our faculty about their commuting habits & contact points for budget items like "pounds of paper purchased." All in all, a very productive meeting.
2:50pm - In literally a minute space in between meetings, I post several new database trials to the library website.
3pm - presentation to staff about social media: what it is & why we're using it to connect with students. There were several questions about Twitter, some concerns about student privacy & copyright violations raised, but for the most part people seemed intrigued. We are very late to the game in social media so building a strong presence is on my to-do list. On the other hand, the drama surrounding a student YouTube video with a copyrighted song in it is disconcerting. There was even an implication that "hyperlinks are theft" which I find absurd. The Internet cannot continue to operate if that is true.
5pm - I'm behind the reference desk for the rest of the day. The first thing I need to do is access a massive, convoluted spreadsheet of sustainability data, but it won't render correctly in my Macbook Air's & I don't have (nor do I want) Office for Mac. The circulation desk workstation can't remote desktop into my office; I've talked to IT about it & they basically chose not to fix it since the computer is on Windows XP (this OS is a decade old, people) & is supposedly going to be upgraded to 7, though there's no timeline for that. So I try to VPN into my office machine, but the VPN Java applet crashes Chrome, so I have to use Firefox & I waste time setting up a more efficient copy-paste workflow in Quicksilver, too. No one cares.
6pm - I teach a brief, half-hour information literacy session on English literature. Here is my presentation, it's just a regular Google Doc but published. I usually do this so that students can look over my slides later.
6:35pm - A frequent patron pulls me aside to ask an MLA citation question. When I show her how to do a hanging indent, she becomes effusive. "You're the best, Eric. You're so smart. They're lucky to have you here." A validating experience.
6:45pm - I'll admit it, I'm reading blogs, checking Twitter, & writing this post. Sick the time theft police on me.
7:00pm - We're in the "email is hard" & "how do I find out this person's name" stage of the night. I need to email someone but Chesapeake has no easy way to look someone up by department. I talk to the few remaining staff & find her name. I email faculty regarding our new trials. I email two administrators asking for data relating to sustainability. I email, therefore I am a librarian.
7:45pm - Setting up accounts in Drupal for three staff members who are going to be my beta testers for editing the new website. Hopefully, the work flow surrounding creating & maintaining content is going to be vastly improved. We're moving from a static HTML site where only certain people (read: basically only me & our college's sole webmaster) can edit content to Drupal, where I can fine tune permissions and let everyone edit content in a WYSIWYG editor. It promises to be a sterling improvement.
8:15pm - I put up a simple Yahoo! Pipe that aggregates all of the college's RSS feeds, which are few but growing. The main news portion of the college website is still done in static HTML, with no RSS feed at all...sigh. Also, our work flow for updating the website involves Microsoft Expression Web, so posting basically two HTML elements takes me a half-hour due to slowness & an eventual crash. On the bright side, my Quicksilver trigger saves me two seconds this time around.
8:45pm - I'm shepherding people out of the library, turning off monitors, shutting down computers. Security comes around & helps. It's been a busy day & I'm spent. I'll listen to more JavaScript Jabber on the drive home.

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