Thursday, February 02, 2012

Library Day in the Life Project Round 8

I've been lurking on the edges of the Library Day in the Life Project for a couple of Rounds now ...   and haven't seen any South African librarians on the list (yet),  so here goes...     I'm a subject librarian at the University of Cape Town

This week, so far, has been very busy as we are heading into the start of the new academic year.   The library is filling up as Orientation Leaders bring groups of  wide-eyed first years through the library on a campus orientation.   If this is towards the end of the day,  these first years look glazed over, suffering from information-overload.        

But I am also preparing for the overseas leg of the Carnegie Research Librarians Academy.   There is a presentation to prepare for that, as well as doing as much of the pre-start of the academic year preparations as I can,  given that I am not going to be around for a goodly chunk of the first semester.    And trying to finish off a library guide on assisting our academic staff to track their own research. 

So this week has not really been a typical week.   And in fact,  there is no typical day (even once the academic year starts),  although somewhere in the day,  there will usually be a stint at the information desk.

I'm here at work at about 7.30 am -  depending on traffic, after doing the school run -  and find parking very easily.  (We have a huge parking problem on campus -  early birds get the parking, late birds end up circling and parking almost halfway up Table Mountain.)

Monday saw an early morning stint at the information desk followed by working on the library guide, then dealing with email, either responding to requests for setting up sessions for new students in my subject areas or quickly dealing with other queries or talking to colleagues and students who drop in.     I keep fiddling with the library guide  -  whipping stuff in and out.    And getting those colleagues who drop in, to give an opinion.  I've got to keep remembering that this is to assist staff in tracking their own research.   

I am going to be hosted by the University of Waterloo Library in Canada for about 7 weeks,  as part of the Research Librarians Academy,  so Monday afternoon saw the first Skype session with my host!    (And in the middle of the session, a student knocked on the door to ask for assistance!)  Nibbled on my lunch at my desk, while checking my Google Reader.      Where did those 1000 unread feeds come from? 

Tuesday was a looooong day.  There was a general staff meeting for the entire library first thing in the morning ...  our libraries were actually closed and only re-opened at 10 am.     Again, continued fiddling with the library guide ...   but then ran into technical problems (not sure if it was me or our network ....    screenshots wouldn't display! ).     Was going to assist a colleague with a library tour for our Social Development Honours students,  but only a small number of students arrived,  so my help wasn't needed.  (My colleague had recently  taken over the Social Development subject responsibilities from me ...).  

As part of the University's Welcome to new students,  there are two Open Days for Parents where our Vice Chancellor (or one of the Deputy Vice Chancellors) addresses the parents, and they then go off to attend talks by the relevant Deans, and hear about life at the university and what their children can expect.   There are information stands in one area of the campus, and tours to the facilities including the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.    Tuesday evening was the second of the Open Days.   The first of the groups of parents arrived at about 3.30 pm  -  I was one of the "tour leaders" showing parents around the library.  (Love doing this ...  we have an awesome library!) and was here until 6.30 pm.    

Wednesday saw a short desk stint -  had to get a colleague to stand in for part of the shift, as there had been an invite to attend a departmental staff meeting for one of my subject responsibilities ...     I need to tell them that I will be gone for a while and what the interim arrangements are.    This was followed closely by an appointment with one of my academic colleagues who wanted to get her My Citations (Google Scholar) set up ...  which was great because this is what the library guide is all about!!

Together with my colleagues,  we then headed over to information talks to incoming groups of first year Humanities students.      The library always gets a slot.   My colleague, Alex, does the speaking while the other librarians provide a supporting presence and be introduced.    Previously,  we wouldn't accompany him, but would catch the students in the library as they were on the campus tours,  dish out library waterbottles and say a few words.    But this is not feasible now, so we accompanied him, taking over some print examples of reference books,  and journals.        We recently put together a series of slides about the Humanities Librarians (for the information slide show the library has running near the entrance and at the information desk) and this was shown ...          we certainly did not expect the thundering applause and laughter we had    (-:  

Then it was back to cover the information desk until closing time at 5 pm. 

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