Library Day in the Life 2009: Friday

July 31, 2009

As I was up most of Thursday night feeling a bit under the weather, I did not make it into work today.

I feel the need to comment that this week was unusually quiet. I’m thinking that a look into a day in the library of an academic systems librarian might be more exciting at another time of the year.

Library Day in the Life 2009: Thursday

July 31, 2009

I arrive at work. Read my email, listen to my voice mail and go through my RSS feeds. I’m kind of excited that I don’t have any meetings schedule for today.

I spend most of the day writing reports, working on the location code update project and doing a bit of office cleaning. It is definitely a quite and rather uninteresting day. However, I do get quite a bit done.

We have a library staff coffee hour. We hold this in our cafe because the cafe space is in a cooler part of the building than the staff room. During coffee, we do find out that 3 out of the 4 a/c compressors are now working. As the day passes, it does become apparent that the climate is getting more comfortable. How exciting.

In the afternoon, I do get a couple to support calls. One of our acquisitions people is having trouble posting invoices in our library system. I do some investigating. Some of the fields in an order record are not correct and because of this the items cannot be marked as paid. Fortunately, the invoice in question has only two items on it. I delete the invoice and the person is then able to go into the item record and fix the problem.

One of the reference librarians calls with a problem logging on to a computer with the interlibrary loan account. Unfortunately, I do not have the password. Her options are to call the help desk and have the password changed or wait until the interlibrary loan librarian returns to work tomorrow.

Time to go home.

Library Day in the Life 2009: Wednesday

July 29, 2009

When I look back at today, I find that I really can’t remember it all that well. I’m not sure what that might mean. Sadly, I didn’t take good notes today.

I arrive at work. It is still hot and humid. Everything in my office is sticky. Fortunately, the sun is not out. That should make it less hot. I go through my email, RSS feeds, etc. I respond to questions and followup on items that need my attention. I remember to email my employee so that we can get her performance review stuff settled.

I contiue preparing for a 10AM meeting with college’s web developer about several databases our archivist has that need to be put on the web. I look through her files. They are all in Access databases – which makes me cringe.

I gather up 5 backup tapes for our library system and head across campus to the IT offices. I need to exchange the backup tapes with the woman who changes and initializes our tapes each day during the week. After exchanging the tapes, I head to my meeting.

The meeting is short. There are no good solutions. I need to discuss this with the web developer and her boss to figure out how IT would like to proceed. I email her boss and now have a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday.

I talk to the archivist to apprise her of the results of the meeting. We may need to start looking at other solutions. I do some research on this.

I go out to get pizza for lunch. I again eat in my office because the heat in the staff room is worse than my office.

The circulation supervisor finished adding new loan rules to our library system for the new location codes we are creating. So, the project is back in my hands. I start working on next steps and working out a tentative time line.

One of our reference librarians was working on her annual report, complete with statistics. She was having trouble getting her charts labeled correctly. I spent at least 1/2 with her, but we couldn’t get the chart right. Everything we did kept messing up the chart. I think we will try again tomorrow.

I head home – and am psyched when I arrive at home to feel that my husband put the ac on. Coolness!

Library Day in the Life 2009: Tuesday

July 28, 2009

I arrive at work early. Between the lack of a/c and the number of parents dropping off children for day programs, I thought it would be a good idea to get in early. There is a crane in the library parking lot. This is a good sign that there might be some positive movement on the a/c situation.

I start work by going through my emails. There isn’t much to go through, but this is only because I check my email when I am home on my iPhone. I have to stop doing this.

I print out information about the latest release of the software that we use for digital asset management. I have to read through and familiarize myself with some of the new features for a conference call with the vendor at 10:00AM. I will be taking on the application specialist responsibilities for this system.

The vendor that I emailed yesterday about adding our new learning management system as a trusted site in our electronic course management system responded that this is done. I logged in to verify this. All looked good.

I then log into the new learning management system with a training account and start adding links to full-text articles, both proxied and un-proxied. I need to do extensive testing from on and off campus to figure out how best to explain this to faculty.

Leave my office to walk across campus for the conference call. I could have joined from my office, but decided it would be cooler in the IT office space. I take some pictures of the crane on my way across campus. The call goes well. We decide not to upgrade to the new version of the software. We will just migrate the software from a virtual machine to its own hardware and add networked attached storage. We will also make some modifications to the user account scheme. The vendor will be on campus for three days in August. I feel good about the project.

I am back in my office. There was a meeting at 10:00AM that I was supposed to attend, but had to skip just finished up. I did 3 more Adobe Photoshop online lessons.

I do more work on performance management forms for FY2010. At the same time, I continue working on my annual report. I feel as if it is taking me forever to finish these things. I will admit that I find it much easier to be distracted by things like cleaning my office, etc. when I have to work on these end-of-the year items.

Lunch time! Since my office feels cooler than the staff room (due to my open balcony door and my fan), I decide to eat at my desk. I do some of the lessons from the Photoshop CS4 online class. I feel like I’m starting to get a better grasp on layers and selections.

I talk to one of the reference librarians about web pages. The reference staff is just starting to edit our reference web pages in our college’s new content management system. We are trying to discuss changes to page formats and layouts that might make things less complicated for them. I need to discuss this further with the head reference librarian.

I start to prepare for a meeting that I have with the college’s web developer tomorrow about putting several Access databases on the web. The college archivist has several databases that she needs to put up on the web to allow people to search the archives finding aids. I have a great deal of information to gather.

I continue some work on the project to change our library system location codes and material types. There has been discussion about material types on the library system user group listserv. I go through these emails.

I answer a couple of phone calls from the IT system administrators. One is a followup question about the digital asset management upgrade. The second is about security audits on college servers. We discuss the library servers.

I call it a day. The sun is one the backside of the building, and my office is HOT!! I think I plan to put the a/c on at home.

I check the behavior of the links to library full-text articles in the new learning management system. This is going to be complicated. I need to find out more information about using the LMS as a proxy server or adding the IP’s of the LMS to all of our vendors. I’m starting to worry about how much of this I will be able to do prior to the start of the fall 2009 semester. I decide to worry about it later. I also read my work email and discover an email from the library director about the a/c. Things did not go well today. The a/c is not expected to work before the end of the week at the earliest. Can I wear a tank top and shorts tomorrow???

Library Day in the Life 2009: Monday

July 27, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the Library Day in the Life posts last July. It is a fascinating glimpse at the day to day tasks that various people perform in a variety of libraries. With that, I couldn’t resist participating again this year.

So, here is a look into a somewhat average Monday in my life as a systems librarian at an academic library at a small liberal arts college.

I arrive at work. As soon as I walk down the corridor on the 2nd floor, I can tell that the air conditioner on the south side of the building (where my office is located) is still not operational. The building is muggy, muggy, muggy. There is a door to a balcony in my office. I open it and turn on my fan. I can tell it is going to be a fun day.

I sit down to go through my email and voice mails. I was out on Friday so I expect that I will have a higher than normal volume of stuff to go through. I am relieved that all 5 voice mails are automated messages from non-work related sales people. However, I have several things that I need to follow up on. I respond to those people via email who are waiting for responses. I check in with the person who reports to me on an outstanding issue regarding a book-binding application that no longer runs because of an upgrade to IE8. She was able to get IE7 reinstalled and all is solved.

I talk to the IT trainer to get a username and password for one of the online training sites to which we have a subscription. I need to learn how to use the more advanced functionality of Adobe CS4 – especially Photoshop. I get the information and successfully log in. I find the right online class and complete the first lesson.

I take a survey from our ILS vendor on a recent software upgrade. While the upgrade went well, I did have to contact the vendor several times in order to complete the process. I feel that I need to take time to vocalize my frustrations with the process in the survey.

July marks the beginning of our new fiscal year. During July, we must complete performance reviews and set objectives for the coming year. While I have already met with the woman who works for me, I start work on finishing up her performance management review for fiscal year 2009. I find this to be one of the most difficult parts of my job, and it takes me quite a bit of time to get the forms completed. I do finish this document and email the final copy to my employee. However, I do get interrupted and don’t actually finish it until later in the day.

I also start to fill out the forms for my employee’s goals and objectives for FY2010. I finish two of the three goals fairly quickly. I probably will need to wait until my boss (library director) finishes my goals and objectives in order to keep everything in line with departmental goals and objectives.

I am managing a project in our library to restructure our integrated library system’s location codes and materials types. The hope is that this will add more intuitive limiting capabilities in our online catalog. After a conversation with our circulation supervisor, I add several different location codes, add them to my master spreadsheet and email the spreadsheet to the circulation supervisor.

There is another possible project in ther works to incorporate a collection from another campus department. I also start the structure for adding these new branch and location codes into our library system.

I write up some information about my proposed goals and objectives for fiscal year 2010 for my boss. I figure this will help me set objectives for my employee.

I continue alternating between several of these projects until lunch.

It is lunch time. I go into the staff room to reheat my lunch. There is a broken faucet that is leaking continuously in one of the staff bathrooms. Also, the staff room is more uncomfortable than my office. So, I decide to eat at my desk. I check gmail, my RSS feeds, etc while I eat. Once I finish, I go back to work early.

I start to formulate my thoughts and concerns about the proposed project to add a departmental collection to our library system. Overall, I a in favor, but think there are several issues that need to be resolved. I told my boss that I will be unable to make a library department head meeting tomorrow morning because of a conference call. He tells me that he will call a meeting later in the week to discuss this project and its ramifications. I ask him about a timeline for inclusion, to which the answer is “as soon as we work out our issues.” I guess it really isn’t a proposed project anymore.

All of my work on performance management plans has given me a framework for the annual report that I need to write for the systems department. So, I start work on this report which is due by August 15th. I vow (like I do every year) to keep better track of what I am doing throughout the year, so that I won’t have trouble remembering what I actually did this past year.

For the rest of the afternoon, I go back and forth some more between all of the currently projects on which I a currently working.

Now that the sun is shining on the backside of the library, my office is getting even warmer. I turn the fan up to its highest setting and then clean my desk of loose paperwork.

I have a 4:00PM appointment across campus with an IT director to discuss a conference call that we will both be on tomorrow morning at 10:00AM. The conference call is with the vendor of our digital asset management product.  We are migrating the software off of a virtual machine environment and putting it on its own hardware in August. The call tomorrow is in preparation for that migration.

I get back to my office and get ready to leave for the day. I remember to put my handwritten list of my activities for this post in my bag. I had shut my balcony door when I left for my 4:00PM meeting, so my office is about 90 degrees. I am already sweating. I read a series of emails from the director about the air conditioning. The first email reports that the problem is well on its way to being solved. It should be cooler by the end of tomorrow. But the second email reports a new problem. The motor on one of the units that was just fixed is broken. Both compressors will be replaced tomorrow. However, now the HVAC people need to find a new motor. The director does not expect tomorrow to be much cooler.

Library Day in the Life: Friday

July 26, 2008

8:30AM: I am taking today off as a vacation day. I still have so much to do to put things away from the our trip to Seattle. I call in and talk to someone in circulation. The person who works for me is also out today. I check to make sure things are going ok. There are no problems. I tell the person that I am available by cell phone. I also ask her to do the backup of our library system.

There were no incidents during the rest of the day. Yeah!!! 🙂

Library Day in the Life: Thursday

July 26, 2008

8:45AM: Make it in to work. My sleep cycles may be finally getting back to normal. Read email, get ready for the day.

9:00AM: Started working on our website redesign project. I began entering content into a page built from our new library template in order to figure out how the new page behaves. I will work on this all day when not working on something else.

10:30AM: IT meeting. Although I am not technically part of the IT department, I do go to their weekly meetings. A majority of the work that I do relies upon (and affects) the IT department  – enough that I need to have an extremely close relationship with the department. We discuss the external DNS entry that I need. Consensus seems to be that this is okto go ahead with. I need to speak to our network administrator later.

12:10PM: Return to the library from the IT meeting. Wade through email and listen to voice mail (which were all telemarketer type calls).

12:30PM: Go to lunch!

1:30PM: Return from lunch. Email waiting from government documents that there are several frozen records in our integrated library system. I free the records and email the requester. She had another record that needed to be freed. I freed this record also.

1:45PM: The acquisitions librarian emailed me that she could not get into her vacation log. The file is kept on a computer in my office. I realize that the computer is off. We had a power outage last night when several thunderstorms went through the area. I turned the computer on and emailed the requester. All seemed to work fine.

2:00PM: Left a message asking the network administrator to give me a call.

2:05PM: Read through performance management goals. I need to set goals for the person who works for me for this coming fiscal year. The goals are due by the end of July. I have started on the goals, but need to do more.

3:10PM: The network administrator calls. We go over what I need done. He will assign the server an external IP address and call our ISP in order to request that the external DNS entry is mapped to the IP address.

4:00PM: Work on adding 15 lists in Word document form to our website for our government document librarian. This task is rather time consuming and I haven’t been able to get to it this week so far. I had added these lists to our website in June, but they got overwritten when the college went live with its new website on June 30th. ARGH!!! I absolutely hate having to redo work, especially when I should have realized that these pages would have been overwritten.

5:00PM: Head home.

Library Day in the Life: Wednesday

July 23, 2008

Day 3 of what my daily work life as a systems librarian is like.

8:00AM: Waking up today is easier!

9:00AM: I arrive at work. I get everything settled and read my email. Fortunately, there isn’t much waiting for me.

9:20AM: I get an email from the person that works for me that someone in circulation cannot delete an item record from our library system. She is getting an error message that the item cannot be deleted because it is on reserve. I log into the system and check the item in question. The systems indicates that it is not on reserve. I cannot delete it either. I need to get the vendor to fix the error. The vendor is in California, and I generally try not to call before 10AM EST. I decide to open a call from their tech support website. I generally don’t like to do this because it seems that it takes much longer for them to respond. However, it has been a while, so I decide to try again. I fill out the form and get a confirmation.

10:10AM: While using the washroom in our staff room, I hear the phone ringing. I get a sense that someone might be looking for me, so I hurry to wrap things up and return to my office. There is indeed a message waiting for me. I call the person back. She has an error message when opening Outlook. She also says that her machine is running very slowly. The person in question has an old computer that is ready for replacement. I walk her through the error messages. Her email opens. I ask her to keep me apprised. I explain that I would prefer not to reinstall Office (or even her operating system) because she is in line for a new computer as soon as I can get my hands on one. I make a note to discuss new computers at the weekly IT meeting on Thursday.

10:25AM: I go back to working on web page stuff. I remote desktop to the CMS server in order to copy the relevant XML, XSL and CSS files.

10:30AM: I get a call from another IT tech. He needs to get a data connection to a card swipe on a vending machine in the library hooked up. He doesn’t have his keys to the data closets nor does he have any patch cords. I tell him that I have both and will meet with him when he gets to the library. The new data jack for the vending machine was not patched in, so we took care of that issue.

11:30AM: I go through my email to find the URL for the admin site for one of our ebook databases. Our acquisitions librarian is interested in looking at usage statisics. I find the URL and log in to look at the stats for myself. I am surprised with the usage. I email the information to the acquisitions librarian.

11:55PM: I search for some books on XSLT and Xpath that may help me learn what I need to know to be able to work on coding new templates for the library in the new CMS. I find 4 books on Amazon and email the titles (with ISBNs) to our acquisitions librarian.

12:30PM: Lunch!

1:30PM: Back to work. I go back to working on web page stuff.

3:00PM: I start to work on adding several lists (in Word doc format) onto our website. Our government documents librarian puts the lists of needs and offers on our website. I put these lists up back in June, but am guessing that these lists got overwritten when we made substanative changes to our website to conform to the college’s new look and feel on July 1st. Yuck! I hate having to redo work, especially when I should have known this would happen. I don’t actually finish. There are 15 lists, and it is labor intensive to put these lists up.

3:30PM: The college archivist calls me to ask some questions about budget amounts for technology for a grant that she is writing. I mention to her how grateful I am to the person who works for her for his help with the digital imaging project. I tell her that I nominated him for the employee recognition program. We talk about website issues. I mention that I think we should meet to discuss her website needs. I need to include the archives site with the library site in any plans that I make for development. She agrees that we will talk next week.

3:45PM: Back to work on website stuff. I’m starting to suffer from code coma.

4:00PM: The head of HR sends out an email about a tornado warning that is in effect for our county. I look outside, and it is indeed getting dark and dangerous looking. I continue to work on website stuff, printing out the XML that our new home page template generates. I also print out the new XSL pages that control the page.

4:30PM: The head of HR sends out another email that the tornado warning has expired. We are, however, in the middle of a nasty thunderstorm. I decide that I don’t want to leave work until the storm abates. I work on cleaning off my desk.

4:55PM: While the sky has lightened a bit, it is still pouring buckets out. I decide to leave anyway. I haven’t heard back from the vendor about the call that I opened this morning. I guess calls opened through the website are still given lower priority. If I don’t hear back by mid-afternoon tomorrow, I’m going to have to call. ARGH!

Library Day in the Life: Tuesday

July 23, 2008

Day 2 of what my daily life as a systems librarian is like. Note: times are approximations. I’m recreating much of this.

8:30AM: I’m having trouble waking up this morning. I finally drag myself out of bed.

9:15AM: I arrive at work. I boot up my computers. My main computer does not want to start. This isn’t a good omen. Finally, it boots up after a couple of hard boots. Everything seems fine. First bullet of the day dodged successfully. I begin my day.

9:30AM: I start to go through my email. While I had kept up with email while I was away, there are several things that I need to do, several people to whom I need to respond, etc. I make a list of things that I need to do. Due to the high volume of email, it takes me over an hour to get through everything and start actually doing some work.

10:45AM: I call one of the IT techs. He had emailed me about working out a strategy for recycling equipment. We chat about old equipment that he thought I had in the library. I told him that I believed that our facilities group had already taken the stuff away. He asks me to check for him.

10:50AM: I call one of the IT directors to check on a change management request that I had submitted before I had left for Seattle. I need to get an external DNS entry made in order for the college’s new photo digital library website to be publicly available. While I was away, the business owner of the software emailed the director to ok the change. I needed to follow up. The director would like to discuss the request at the weekly IT meeting.

11:00AM: I call a coworker in the Archives. He agreed to work with a temp who is digitizing art slides while I was away. Everything seems to be going fine. I nominate him for an employee recognition program that we have at our college to thank him for helping.

11:05AM: The college’s trainer calls. She had sent me an email pointing out some typos on a page in the library website and wanted to make sure I wasn’t offended. I wasn’t. I thanked her for pointing them out. After we got off the phone, I fixed the mistakes.

11:15AM: I start thinking about the library’s website. Last week, our web design firm (which redesigned the college’s site) delivered a new template for the library home page. I haven’t had too much time to look over the template and check to make sure everything is working correctly. I log into the CMS to take a look at the XML generated by the template. I need to get a handle on how the navigation of the site is being driven.

11:30AM: A colleague calls asking if I want to go to lunch. I have to think on it. I know I shouldn’t go, but am ready to get out of the library for a bit (the temperature in the library is freezing. I have my balcony door open, but my toes are definitely cold).

11:50AM: I head downstairs to meet two coworkers. We go to Wendys for lunch.

12:20PM: Back at work. I continue mulling over web page issues and problems. I’m getting frustrated because there is way more work to do than I had anticipated. My mom had called while I was out to ask if I wanted to go for a walk. Since we were only gone for a 1/2 hour, I call mom back. She will meet me at the library at 1:00PM.

1:00PM: Mom and I walk for a 1/2 hour. I’m glad that I went because this totally perked me up.

1:30PM: I update a link on our website to one of our electronic resources/databases. We had switched vendors for the product and the URL needed to be updated. I changed it on 5 pages and emailed people in the reference department to ask them to check to see if I had missed any pages. The reference department generally maintains our subject pages and is therefore more familiar with the content.

1:45PM: Back to work on web page stuff. I learned a great deal at the web development training. However, I learned that we can’t really just implement the new template that the website redesign firm provided for us. There is a great deal of back end coding that needs to happen – and it is a great deal ow work. I’m a little worried. I’m not sure this can be done by the start of the fall semester, which is when I had hoped to actually be able to get our content into the new CMS. My boss (the library director) is out this week, so we won’t be able to discuss this until next week. I don’t think that we have a good overall strategy for our web presence. I think that we need one, but also believe this isn’t something that I can do alone. I need input from others. I worry some more about the amount of work required – and the coding needed. While I have had exposure to programming, I am not a programmer. I was worried that I might be lost in the web development training, but fortunately was not. I’m not sure that spending all of my time trying to write code to make the most of the new CMS is the best use of my time. I write some notes because my boss and I will need to discuss this at length.

3:00PM: I call the college’s web editor to discuss last week’s web development training. I need to check with her about my plans for the library website. It is important for me to make sure that I always try to work with the web people. I admit that this has been difficult for me at times, but I think that this is working well right now. It was a good conversation. I promise to keep the web editor (and the web producer who is on vacation) informed about what I am doing with the library’s website in the content management system. I create the foundation of a new folder in the CMS for the library website. I think it makes sense to try and separate the library site from the rest of the college’s site. This way, I can play around with the schemas, stylesheets and XML without impacting others.

4:30PM: I spend some time working on compiling year end statistics and framing out my annual report for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

5:00PM: Time to go home. I have lots to do – grocery shopping, laundry, etc. Generally, it was a good first day back at work. Nothing much had gone wrong while I was away (YEAH!). I am incredibly tired. I haven’t adjusted to eastern standard time yet.

Library Day in the Life: Monday

July 23, 2008

I was quite intrigued by the idea of the people writing about what their daily life working in a library is like. I think it is a great idea. I have enjoyed reading the posts the others have written, and thought it might be fun to participate. So, here’s my contribution. I hope you enjoy the glimpse of what daily life is like for a systems librarian!

As I mentioned, I was away at web development training in Seattle last week. Given that I did not return home until Monday morning, I took Monday off as a vacation day. Even though I wasn’t at work, I thought I would include what my day was like.

7:10AM: The plane lands in Boston at Logan Airport after a 5 1/2 hour filled with nasty, nasty turbulence. A couple people actually had to use those little bags in the seat pockets. Yuck!!! I have never been so glad to be off a plane in my life. My dad is waiting at the airport to take my husband and I home.

8:15AM: My husband and I arrive home. I eat a chocolate donut before heading to bed. By this point, I have been up for almost 24 hours and am exhausted.

12:15PM: I get up and plop myself in front of my laptop. While I had my pda/phone with me in Seattle, I used it simply to check my work email. I was not online much, and was definitely feeling some online withdrawal. I organize my work email. There are several things waiting for me when I return to work. Fortunately, I had no voice mails waiting. It appeared as if returning to work would not be too painful. I spent much of the afternoon online while also watching all of the tv shows that we had DVR’d while we were away.

5:00P: I spent some time reviewing material from the web development training.

9:00PM: Went to bed