Library badges I collected from my local library when I was a child:
This is a collection of my favourite comedy sketches and songs about libraries and librarians.
First thing when I get in in the morning, is to check the display screen in the cafe area is working – not a hard task as it is on the way to my office. If it isn’t I have to reboot the machine, but today it was on. Once I was all logged in, I checked my emails, then checked the new Library Facebook page for the number of followers, and any responses, and then checked the Library News blog for comments.
Once all the checking was out of the way, I just had time to finish writing a position paper on my QR codes project before my fortnightly meeting with my boss. During the meeting we went through the projects I have on the go, and then discussed a meeting planned for next week, with members of staff from all the different Library departments, where we will decide on a policy for documenting my projects, requesting new projects, and prioritising projects (now that my post has been made permanent).
Following the meeting I had a request from one of the Academic Liaison Librarians for some website statistics that she needed for an academic Board of Studies meeting – I got these from Google Analytics and sent them to her.
In the afternoon I trained one of my colleagues on using WordPress so he could add posts to the Library news blog. I had a phone call from someone on the Reception Desk asking for help with their computer – I popped down, determined the problem was the monitor display being out of alignment, and fixed it.
Back at my desk, I emailed the office to ask them to put a notice about the Library’s new Facebook page in this week’s staff Bulletin, updated my to do list, and then got on with some website changes – adding a new Academic Liaison Librarian to the website, and adding some Information Skills sessions to the booking form.
Then it was time to go home.
Today I have an Information Desk session from 9-11, so there’s not much time to do more than my daily display screen, Facebook and blog checks before I head down to the Information Desk. I usually do two Information Desk shifts a week. Today’s shift was very quiet – had three people with queries, and that was it. I don’t generally mind when it is quiet, as I can get on with other work, though sometimes it feels like a waste of time my being there.
After my shift, I had a visit from one of my colleagues to arrange for the SCONUL trainee to spend some time with me next week, which I agreed to. I have a project which I want her to help me with, and next week is perfect timing for me. I then spent some time tidying my desk, which had got into a bit of a mess, and I carted quite a bit of paper off to the recycling bin.
I attempted to make some web changes, but Rhythmyx, our Content Management System, is down, so I give up, and instead work on the You Say, We Say poster for the Publicity & Marketing Group I am a part of – basically telling students what we did about their feedback forms.
Just after lunch I showed one of my colleagues, who was just back from maternity leave, the changes to the website which was migrated while she was off, and had a general chat and a catch up with her.
Then I spent a bit of time thinking about a project to put staff training forms on the web, then read through the strategic paper for Virtual Support projects which my boss had put together, ready for a meeting next week.
Rhythmyx was down again this morning, so I still couldn’t make any changes to the web. I did my usual morning Facebook and blog comment checks, and finished reading through the strategic paper from the day before, sending my comments to my boss.
In lieu of editing the website, I made do with updating the instructions for how to edit the website, and put them up on the staff website. I then attempted to arrange a desk session swap, as one of the sessions I was down for the following week clashed with my big Virtual Support projects strategy meeting.
After lunch I looked up the possibility of getting some funding for a project on using QR codes in the Library – one of the other University departments, CEAD (Centre for Educational and Academic Development) gives Teaching with New Technologies awards of £500, which would be very handy for buying equipment (I really can’t afford my own smartphone) and marketing materials.
Finally Rhythmyx was back up, so I made a few web changes, and uploaded an updated version of the Library Launchpad tutorial (an introduction to the Library).
Usual morning check for comments on Facebook and the blog. Facebook followers are slowly increasing, but no comments as of yet.
I spent much of the morning creating a flowchart of the process for a Virtual Support project using LovelyCharts, which was quite fun. Then I had another shift on the desk, which was quite quiet.
In the afternoon I gave some thought to what work I would ask the SCONUL trainee to do while she is with me next week – planning to cover briefly what it is that I do in my role, and get her to do some website changes, and mostly populating the new Library staff intranet.
Once again, started the day with checking the blog and Facebook for comments and users. Now have over 30 users on Facebook, which means I can start collecting statistics – feel rather over-pleased about this.
I printed a few copies of the updated Rhythmyx instructions ready for a training session I will be running next week, with two new members of staff, and someone else who has managed to miss all my previous sessions.
Spent an hour or so before lunch weeding emails, the concept of Inbox Zero is one I will never grasp – think I have about a thousand emails in my inbox.
After lunch I spent some more time sorting and tidying my desk, arranging folders, and trying to appear all neat and tidy (even though I’m generally not). I also posted my Interesting Things blog post, which I’d been adding items to throughout the week.
Fridays are great, as I get to leave half an hour early, so the week always ends well.
I joined Farnham Library the other day – something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while. The first task was getting in to the Library – it is slightly confusing, as there is a big door and opening hours off the main street, but I don’t think you can get in that way (not sure, it isn’t very welcoming if you can, but if you can’t it is an odd place to have the opening hours up). I went in through the car park entrance. Much easier.
Once inside, there was a very small queue at the help desk, but I didn’t have too long to wait. I was greeted by a helpful Library Assistant – I know she was a Library Assistant, as she had a name badge with it on (something which might be an idea for my Library, to stop all those ‘do you work here?’ questions) – who seemed quite pleased I had remembered to bring some id with my address on. I had to choose one of the Library card designs, which threw me a little, as I hadn’t been expecting to have to make any decisions at this point. I picked one with Newlands Corner on, pretty much at random – there weren’t any with anything in Farnham on. I had to sign my name in a book, sign the card, then was given my PIN, and a few leaflets, and that was it. I had a quick browse round the shelves, found a couple of books to borrow, and then faced my first time using the self-service machine. It was thankfully easy (how embarrassing it would have been if I’d had to ask for help!!), and I opted to print a receipt to remind me when the books are due back (and it doubles as a handy bookmark).
It seemed like a nice enough place – not huge, but not tiny either. It was interesting to see the sizes of the various sections – lots of crime books, and general fiction, a small amount of sci-fi/fantasy, and lots of non-fiction. There was also a quick-browse section, and a small-ish number of computers available for internet access.
I’ll be going back (well, I have to, to return my books).
Last week I attended the CPD25 course on Customer Care. I must admit that my expectations were low, as a colleague who attended these sessions last year had told me that this was the course she got the least out of. However, I tried to keep an open mind.
The session started off ok. I got there about half an hour early and the room hadn’t been unlocked yet – I got the chance to chat with some people who I hadn’t spoken to before – and the course leader introduced herself. I then got co-opted into helping rearrange the tables and chairs when we finally got in. I got to discussing web 2.0, twitter, wikis etc with another attendee while we waited for the other people to arrive (this was probably the high point of the session).
Once we started (a few minutes late, as always on these courses), the first task was to discuss in groups any jobs we had done before which were relevant to customer care (in my group these were – waitress, teaching assistant, sales assistant, enroller, and telephone sales assistant), and list what the relevant skills were (prioritisation, sense of humour, courtesy, patience, reassuring, deal with repetitive work, knowledge, initiative, approachable, understanding body language). This was interesting, hearing what jobs people had done before their library careers.
The course leader then spoke about the idea of customer care starting with the background stuff – book ordering, cataloguing quickly etc, and also with the layout of the library. The next section of the session involved the homework we were supposed to have done (which I hadn’t!) – visiting a library other than the one we work in, and making notes. In groups we went round and those who had done the homework said where they had been, and what the good and bad points of the library were. Having done this each person then reported back to the whole room – and were asked to give the library they had visited points out of ten – I have no idea how this was supposed to help us learn anything. There was a lot of going off topic about the layouts of specific libraries and who designed them, which was mildly interesting, but not a good use of time in a 2 hour training session. I can appreciate that the layout of a library has an impact on customer care, but this was not really something worth spending such a long time on.
We were then given a list of skills and competencies for a library assistant position – and had to choose which were Essential and which Desirable. I found this difficult with no idea of what job the library assistant would be doing (it is a bit of a generic job title). We were also given a document of Service Standards, which included Ten Golden Rules for Customer Satisfaction (such as be professional and friendly and don’t be afraid to say sorry) – this was of more use/interest.
Overall I didn’t find this session very useful. I learnt very little about customer care, and spent much of the time feeling frustrated. I definitely agree with my colleague, that this has been the least useful of all the CPD25 sessions (so far!).
Following the post on Lis News, I just read this excellent article at Law Librarians Should Learn to Drive Their Stock Up
While I object to the first sentence “Shhhhh! That’s what you’d expect to hear from law librarians.” – Since when? I agree with the rest. Salaries at UK law firms are similarly varied – I left a job I loved, with great colleagues, because the pay was just so low, and the HR department or whoever seemed to place no value on law librarians at all. Just take a look at the LisJobNet, or one of the other library job websites, and you’ll see salaries for Library Assistant positions that range from the lowest of the low, to higher than the mid-range salaries offered for qualified Librarian positions. It is madness.
The article had some good ideas for improving a librarian’s standing in the firm, including:
Billing for your time: This is something that was done at a couple of firms I have worked at, but not where I work currently. I found it annoying having to ask for file/matter numbers all the time, but it was good to let lawyers know that we charged for our time, it seemed to raise our position, and I wish we did it where I work now.
Preparing an annual report: This is an interesting idea – and something I’d never heard of before. Particularly useful, I suspect, if you do charge for your time, or are considering it. Most law firm libraries already gather some statistical data on enquiries, circulation, etc, it would be a simple matter to bundle it together to show how much money you have charged-back for the firm, how often various resources are used, which departments use the library more etc.