Thursday, 27 January 2011

Library Day in the Life Day 4

I forgot to actually hit "post" on yesterday's post until today, so I shall try to keep today's post shorter (I had wondered why there weren't any comments!). It helps that I don't start work until 12pm on Thursdays; we all work until 7pm one evening a week (and Thursday is my night at the moment). I normally spend my Thursday mornings having a slightly longer swim than usual, doing some cooking, cleaning the living area of the flat and then having a nice sit down. Unfortunately, today, although I do the first three things as usual (make soup, tuna and pasta salad and some cookies), I have to go to the Post Office to renew my driving licence so I leave home an hour earlier than usual, and the PO experience was so hideous I can't bear to think about it any more.

I get into work at 12pm, going first to the Personnel Office to speak with one of the managers there. I come back into the main bit of the library and switch on my off-desk computer; it takes a while to boot up so I catch up with the Upper Reading Room team. I LOVE the hour or so that I have off-desk on Thursday as it enables me to get on with a few things in peace and quiet. Or that is the theory. Unfortunately I have an urgent request for a reference that takes most of the hour to write. Next week's rota also arrives and I check it carefully to see that my reading rooms are covered and that no-one is missing! I remember that I am attending two training sessions next week and have a couple of meetings, so check that this works.

At 2pm I head round to the reserve in the URR for the afternoon. Fortunately it appears to be quieter than earlier in the week and between readers I classify books to go on the open shelves that I ordered up for the English librarian on Monday. The collection in the URR is quite static and I rarely classify books here, so it takes me a little while as the system is more complicated (or it feels like it!) than in the UCam. I then send an email to the URR team asking whoever next has a moment to update the catalogue, label the books and get them out onto the shelves.

At 3.30pm the delivery arrives and it is all hands to the deck to check it in and get it put away. Luckily it seems smaller than the ones earlier in the week are.

At 4.15 I go off on my teabreak, missing the final delivery of the day, and pop to M and S to pick up some smoked mackerel and some leeks, and have a cup of takeaway tea. At 4.45 I get to the UCam and catch up with the staff there, checking the progress of their work and finding out whether there are any issues that I need to be aware of on evening duty.

From 5-7pm I do my evening duty in the Upper Camera. As I am on duty with our Graduate Trainee, she is capable of looking after the readers, leaving me to hide at my desk - keeping an eye out in case it gets busy, and get on with a spreadsheet of books that I am checking. At 6pm she goes and does the book replacing/shelving so I look after the desk while she is out in the reading room At 7pm the late shift arrives - we're open until 10pm on weekdays in termtime, so I can put on my coat and go home without having to worry about persuading the readers to go home.


  1. You can renew your DL at the PO?!

    Libraries are fascinating places with an immense amount of work going on behind the scenes. Customers are always amazed when you tell them about the team of people working away in the bowels of Central, preparing books and other mediums for circulation.

    Off-desk time at my library usually means gossip and plotting time! Fascinating posts, Verity!

  2. This has been a fascinating read Verity!

    Thank you for sharing.


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