Sunday, 1 August 2010

Library Day in the Life 5

This is the second time I have taken part in Library Day in the Life so I'll leave the explanation of what it is and details of my job to the introduction of my previous post on the subject. This time was rather different - in January, we were in the full swing of term, but at the end of July we were in the middle of the summer vacation and, as there were several library assistants on holiday, I spent large chunks of each day covering the counter (although there were very few students about so I'm afraid this didn't yield anything interesting to write about.) We're also much further down the road of "reshaping" the University which I touched on last time. The Faculty of Education, served by our campus, ceases to exist tomorrow and becomes subsumed into the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The Information Services Directorate is also in the throes of restructuring - the Senior Management Team is now in place, but the rest of us still await our fate. Part of the reshaping involves an extensive Early Retirement / Voluntary Severance scheme and by the end of September Jordanhill Library will have lost 6 staff to ERVS, a quarter of our total. Maintaining service levels will therefore be a challenge next session.

So how was my week? I tweeted my activities (@anabelmarsh) with decreasing regularity as the week wore on and have used those tweets as the basis for this post which picks out the main theme of each day.


Monday morning's first task is always to deal with the timesheets for the weekend staff. This week, I also had a contract to sort out. One of our Sunday staff who was due to start work again next term phoned me on Friday afternoon to say she no longer wished to take up her contract. I immediately thought of the volunteer we had earlier in the year who was looking for experience before going on to do an ILS qualification, got clearance from HR to approach her and had her signed up by Monday afternoon. I'm ridiculously pleased with myself because I think it must be a university record for appointing someone - and for anyone thinking of working in libraries, it certainly shows the value of being proactive and getting your foot on the ladder early.


Tuesday was a day of meetings. The first was quite informal with our Campus Librarian, who is one of the staff retiring and therefore needs to make sure he has handed over all his duties effectively. The second was in Glasgow University Library (in their cafe to be precise, coffee in a meeting can never be a bad thing) and was to plan our programme of visits and courses for library assistants in the West of Scotland next term. As I live near GUL I had originally planned to take flexitime and go home afterwards, but I had to dash back to Jordanhill to meeting 3 which was to meet the newly appointed Head of Customer Services for the Directorate. A lot of talking today!


I usually put Wednesdays aside for purchasing, mainly because that's when Holt Jackson updates its online list which is one of the selection tools I use for children's books. As it's the end of the Financial Year I can't order anything just now but I made some choices for later. This is one of my favourite jobs of the week. In the afternoon a lecturer hands in 3 reading lists which, astonishingly, are in good time and have all the information I need on them. This is such an unusual occurence that it prompts one of my Twitter correspondents to ask if there are four horsemen of the apocalypse at the front door - there aren't, but I am a bit shaken and decide to get on straight away with moving books to short loan and ordering extra copies - surely the least the lecturer deserves?


Thursday was the Library Management Committee at the Main Campus and I found out a bit more about the restructuring process. It also gave me a chance to meet two staff in the main library who will be working on our campus one day a week and to discuss how this might work - one of the solutions to our loss of so many to ERVS. They both seemed keen to broaden their experience in this way so there should be mutual benefit.


As a follow-up to yesterday's Library Management Committee I fed back what I had learned about the restructuring - staff are inevitably concerned but I try to make sure people don't worry unnecessarily by keeping them as well-informed as possible. The rest of the day was an endless round of phone calls and desk duty and trying to tidy up loose ends. I wrote in January that my to-do list was much the same at the end of the week as at the beginning, and this was also true this time. The one thing I managed to cross off was proof-reading the update of our Books for Boys web page - resulting in a headache from looking at the screen too long.

Oh dear, that's a negative note to end on, can't have that. There were some lovely things that happened this week. By using the #libday5 hashtag I made some new friends on Twitter. I organised a card and present for one of our staff who has just had a new baby and two staff at the main campus got engaged - "effective networking" as the boss put it. Love and romance. A far better way to end.

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