Friday, 28 January 2011

Library Day in the life Day 5

Very tired as it has been a long week, but manage to drag myself to the pool as usual. As I cycle into work, I feel relieved that I have an off-desk session this morning. I have mainly managed to catch up with the urgent tasks of the week so am looking forward to getting on with some of the non-urgent, nagging tasks. And I never fail to feel slightly cheered up as I approach the beautiful buildings which are my place of work. However, as I climb the stairs to the Upper Reading Room, I run into one of my colleague's husbands (who works in a different department) telling me that he is very sorry but she is poorly today (and that she feels bad as she knows Friday mornings are bad for the Main Enquiry Desk (where she is based). At least I haven't got as far as taking my coat off, so I go down to the Main Enquiry Desk (and try not to feel too grumpy); at least my colleague was off this afternoon anyway, so the only rota-change is me. I postpone the meeting that I was supposed to attend at the History Faculty, as I am manning (womaning?) the Main Enquiry Desk with our Graduate Trainee and it is not fair to leave her on her own for a long period of time (although she will cover my tea break)

Miraculously it is very quiet, unlike Wednesday; as I am the only fully-Main-Enquiry-Desk trained person in the department this morning I have to sort out the emails. By the time I've deleted the junk emails, there's only 9 left, most of which can be forwarded onto other departments. Once I've worked out what needs doing to them, I enlist the help of our Graduate Trainee to send them on, print them out for the files, and record them on the spreadsheet.

We spend a little while trying to work out an enquiry from a reader who wants a particular edition of the Daily Mirror from 1908; as I am not at the Main Enquiry Desk very often it takes me a little while to work out that we don't actually have it (newspapers are an area where our coverage can be less good). It gives me a chance also to explain the difference between a catalogue record and piece record to the Graduate Trainee.

It gets a little busy between 10.30 and 11:00 while I am on my own; I answer the phone twice, dealing with an admissions enquiry and a thesis enquiry (both passed onto other departments), help someone print something out, and help a gentleman with a book which is out to one of the staff offices. I then help him to order a 1612 edition of the bible.

At 11am I drag myself over to the common room and sit and stare at my book for a bit before coming back to the desk where I help more readers with stack requests and answer a couple of emails.

1pm brings lunchtime; hurrah! As my fiance has an appointment in town at 14:50, we meet up. I have a couple of books to pick up from the public library, so we head there before going for a coffee in Pret a manger.

In the afternoon, I am back in the Upper Camera. Luckily it seems to be a bit quieter than it has been earlier in the week (there is a definite trend that Mondays and Tuesdays are busier than other days), so we have a chance to catch up on the various projects that we are working on. And although there are two book deliveries, there are comparatively small.

5pm and it is time to go home! I am looking forward to being out of the library for 36 hours, although I will be back here on Sunday - one final Library Day in the Life post then.


  1. I'd say you get top marks for flexibility when it comes to performance appraisal time.

    Enjoy your mini-weekend, Verity!

  2. I think these posts should be sponsored by 'Pret a Manger'. Big fan of their coffee. It's been so interesting reading about your job on a daily basis.

  3. Thanks for sharing your week at the library with us... I've enjoyed these posts!


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