Librarian day in the life -Thursday #libday8

Today has been a good day. I was late night librarian so got in at 11. Carolyn was visiting the main site so I showed her the new Financial Databases Suite – it looks bit empty now but when it is finished it will look great.

I spoke to the academic I had done the referencing session on Tuesday for and she is really keen to help me develop some online resources, maybe as part of Technology Enabled Academic Practice. Enthusiastic academic staff make such a difference to the work we do. I also had a booking from the academic we saw yesterday for a session in a fortnight.

I got my mark back for the essay I did over Christmas – my first on this MA (I am doing the MA in Academic Practice at City) I was pleased with the mark. I always figure the first essay of a new course is a bit of an exercise in working out where you fit and what they want. I have room for improvement but would be pleased if I got this mark all the way through.

After lunch I headed to Cass on the scariest bus ever – it should take 15 minutes but took less than ten including me walking up the road from the bus to Cass. Boy racer bus driver methinks.

We then had a meeting about the Cass Library website. At the moment it sits on the Cass website, separate from the main City library one and we need to think about where it should be. We all can see both sides of the argument for having it on either site but it needs thinking about.

After a short break I met with my manager who completed my probation. Despite being there for 14 months because I had the absence because of my surgery it ran from my return to work. Anyway I am now permanently employed and very pleased too as I rather like my job.

The evening session then brought a blast from the past as some very confused students from my old place of work came into the library. Except they weren’t supposed to use it. Anyway I ended up writing an essay to various people trying to explain where I think the confusion came from. I fear I may have added to the confusion …

Other than that the library was very busy. One student wanted to know if he had to bring his book back as he needed it. When I looked it up it had 7 holds on it. I explained that he was depriving students of it and he said “yes but I haven’t finished with it. I’ll just keep it until the essay is due in. I can afford the fines.” The very next student then started quoting the article that was in the press recently about UK libraries making lots of money from fines but how he thought they were a good idea. Overdue books, fines and other punishments are an endless area of thought for library staff. In the end all we want is the most people to be able to access our resources!


Librarian Day in the Life 8 – Wednesday #libday8

Today was an odd day as I was working from home because I had a hospital appointment right in the middle of the day.

I quite like working from home. I wouldn’t want to do it every day as I like to see people but from time to time it can really get things done. I tend to get up about 7:30 and check my emails whilst drinking my first cup of tea and carry on working through the day – often well past 5! I can focus on projects especially preparation for presentations or reports. Unfortunately it isn’t something I get to do very often.

So today was spent replying to emails, tidying up some presentations and drafting some blog posts. I also read some of the readings for my Technology Enabled Academic Practice module which I need to post in the discussion group about tomorrow (I would have done it today but ran out of time and because the hospital had taken longer than expected I decided I should think about them tomorrow when my head is clearer).



Librarian Day in the Life 8 – Monday #libday8

It’s come round again! This week I am going to take part in the Library Day in the Life project again. The idea came from Librarian by day and gives librarians a chance to document what they do. There is a twitter hastag if you want to follow on twitter #libday8 and Flickr, you tube and other blogs will be tagged with something like: librarydayinthelife or #libday8.

I’ll blog every day about what I have done. Some posts will be more interesting than others! (Assume every day includes writing and replying to emails and drinking LOTS of tea.)

Looking back today was interesting for me but probably less so for people reading it but I guess the point is to show people what a varied job we do. My main complaint about today was the lack of time for lunch … I also had a drastically reduced tea intake.

The majority of today (4 1/4 hours of it) was spent in a closed card sorting exercise for an online project I am working on. The session was run by one of the web team, Rik, and he had some fancy software which recorded what was happening. Three students took part individually and this was why it took so long. I was merely observing but it was interesting to see how students thought things went together compared with how we thought they should. It was also interesting to see the differences in how the students approached the task.

I think user studies are very useful and can help inform web design but they are also very time intensive. Also in my role there needs to be a balance between what users think they need and us ensuring they get what they actually need. Saying this I always have time for examining the reality of what people do.

Before the card sort I finished off a presentation and PDF guide to go on my citing and referencing subject guide. I’m doing a troubleshooting citing and referencing session with Management students tomorrow and although I won’t be delivering the full presentation it is useful to be able to direct them to it. The guide is a essentially the PowerPoint as a PDF but the contents page is clickable which should help students navigate it easily. In addition to this I did a blog post covering various frequently asked citation and referencing questions.


Tonight, just to keep up the library theme, my friend Sarah Ison who works at Brighton is coming for dinner. We probably won’t just talk libraries …

Librarian Day in the Life 7 – Thursday #libday7

Another pie chart. It would be better as an actual pie.

By far the largest part of my day today was filming with Sam for the induction video. After being somewhat surprised to discover the place we got the camera from last time had turned into a building site we tracked one down and set about recording more footage for our video. We accosted politely asked some students to talk to us about the library and had a surprisingly high number of positive responses to being filmed. Looking at the footage some of it hasn’t the best sound or has a bit too much ambient sound but I think we can use a lot. I think it is good to use students talking Vox pop style in videos so that it’s not just us saying how good the library is. I love the University of Warwick’s video clips (1 min 46 is the best quote!).

We also had a site meeting where we were updated on the library strategy and various other plans but there’s not much to report from it.

I finished my appraisal form and sent it to my Line Manager. I also did a bit more on my application for the MA in Academic Practice  which I hope to start in the new academic year.

Pretty much today was a  catching up with things and videoing day.

Librarian day in the life 7 – Wednesday

Sorry no graph today as I won’t have time. Instead here’s a picture of a book recently donated to Cass:


Today the first thing I did was grab the last Library Campticket and then I spent the morning in meetings. The first was induction group where we are planning the induction especially materials and content. Jessica and Antonella are working on an excellent but top secret idea which Sam and I are doing videos for. Sam and I are also going to try and produce a short film from these video clips. We hope. We’ll then produce a more polished one for next year.

We’ve collected together questions for an induction quiz and I spent a while this afternoon creating a google form so students can fill it in online. Most of the questions were straight forward but there were a couple which suited multiple choice options but thinking of the options was tricky as we don’t want to plant erroneous ideas in the students heads. We also have to be mindful of the multiple-site nature of our library service and make sure things are universal.

After the induction meeting I had a meeting with Peter and Paul about website things including statistics. I have access to all the library website statistics through google analytics and we talked about how we could use the information. There’s a lot. There are also a lot of terms used which need explaining so this afternoon I started a glossary of them.

Following my 23things preparation on my late night I recorded a how to video today and drafted the post.

Sam organised a 23things tea using Doodle as per Thing 14. This was good as several people from all over the office got together to discuss 23things. Everybody had positive experiences and we agreed that it’s been a good experience even though I revealed an aversion to something which Ollie is now using against me. I also enthused about Evernote which is this week’s cool extra thing.

Finally Sam has reported back on her Great Toast Survey which was also a 23things thing from last week. It was filled in by librarians across the country so probably tells you more about librarians than #libday7 ever will.

Librarian Day in the life 7 Tuesday (#libday7)

I was doing a late night at Cass tonight so didn’t start work until 11 and started the day at the main site before walking to Cass mid-afternoon. Today was another bitty day. Unlike yesterday I didn’t feel I got as much done today but that happens, I started a few things like a help sheet and my post for next week’s 23things (I can’t reveal what on but it was fun researching!) and I ordered some books. Tonight I issued some books, answered a couple of queries and topped up a lot print credit. I also got slightly confused about what to do when closing the library (that phrase always makes me think of It’s a Wonderful Life when in the “how things would be if George Bailey had never lived” scenes to illustrate Mary’s singleness they show her closing the library).

Here’s my day as a pie chart –

Today Tamise and I continued to help the student from yesterday with Bloomberg. We looked into it before she got there so once she arrived we were able to show her exactly how to find the daily spot prices for natural gas in Europe over the last three years. She went away happy. Tamise and I then had a long chat about how we could turn all our FAQs etc into a searchable resource for students.

At lunch we had a very bizarre conversation about ukuleles and recorders which led to a few emails going around all afternoon (hence about 15 minutes of my afternoon taken up with ukuleles and recorders. The thing about librarians is they can find a you tube clip in seconds to illustrate almost any point so these discussions just refine our skills!)

Because I can’t tell you about next week’s 23things there’s not much else to say about today.

Librarian Day in the Life project 7 – Monday #libday7

This is supposed to be about what I do all day as a librarian – it’s not all books you know! Today has been a bit of a catching up day as you might see from my lovely pie chart of my day:

It’s a bit odd seeing it like that as several if those tasks were spread out through the day. For example I’m constantly reading emails and responding to them in between other tasks. I’m very much a multitasker with several things going on so most of those things will have been done mixed up rather than in blocks of time.

I had one student query, there are more in term time, from a student asking how to login to science direct. They were having problems because they were trying to get into science direct off campus and not from one of our links. I quickly recorded a screen grab of how to log on and sent them a link as well as written instructions. This took 5 mins at most and if anyone else asks how to log on I have the clip for them.

I also talked to Tamise the Senior Information Assistant at Cass to try and sort out a Bloomberg query she had from a Phd student. Thanks to Tamis calling Bloomberg’s helpdesk the student was helped and I found out they can send you a transcript of your phone query!

I’ve been filling out my first appraisal in this role and it’s taking longer than I’d like because you have to link it to various strategic goals which means reading a strategy which may be out of date but I’ve been given some help from the cass library operations manager which has speeded it up.

I also have been wrestling with the university’s cms to get my subject pages up, again a process which takes much longer than it should but not for much longer …

I had a couple of meetings today too. The first was with my colleague Mandy who is the subject librarian for Arts and Isabelle from the Centre for Language Studies . We were talking about Mandy and my plans for pages for International Students on the library website. Isabelle was really enthusiastic and is going to help us out with a few links to language resources, in return she’ll use some of our content.

My second meeting was quick and with Neil our digital repository manager. He told me a bit about what he was doing and I talked about Cass and my role.

I’m one of the members of the 23things City team which is a week by week course we’re running for our colleagues to show them various social media tools. Today I looked at a few of the 23things participants’ blogs. A few have taken an extended break after week 5’s reflection but I’m sure they’ll catch up, hopefully they haven’t been put off by the amount of things in week 6! Two of the prezis from last week were absolutely laugh out loud funny: Prezi on City University library and Prezi on 23thingsCity

So that was my day. Tomorrow I am working late so will have a different type of day …







Library Day in the Life – day 2

Today I had my corporate induction at City which was really helpful in mixing with other new staff, seeing who’s who and understanding what the university is about. That took up all the morning but went quickly. This was probably helped by the fact that my lovely friend Jessica started working at City yesterday and got herself on the induction. When we hugged goodbye outside I thought the other people might think the induction had been a really good bonding exercise!

After lunch at the induction (very nice sandwiches and vegetable crisps) I did some emails and tried to work out what to do about the web pages as it appears I can edit some other ones which I will be involved with but not the key subject ones. The others I can edit are exciting Information Literacy ones which were produced before I got there but I will be working on.

I then went to Grays Inn Place for a Web Development Group meeting. Grays Inn Place is a beautiful Inn of Court and where City Law School is. We only met 3 weeks ago but the main point of this meeting was to do a card sorting exercise with the FAQ section of the library website. It was really good to look at how they can all fit together and also whether the FAQs were answered obviously on the front page of the website.

I’m really enjoying my new role and can’t wait to head back after my operation and really get stuck in.

Librarian Day in the life – day 1

Today has been a slightly frustrating day in that I’d planned to create my Subject librarian webpages (like the great ones my colleagues did before I got here) which I have been preparing content for since before Christmas. First I couldn’t do it because I needed CMS (Content Management System) training, then I needed to be approved to use the CMS  and so on … Today I logged on only to get lots of error messages. In the end ten minutes before I left I had access. I’m going to have to find time tomorrow and Wednesday to get something done before I finish for the op on Thursday.

Apart from web frustration I did have a really good session on the Reception Desk. It’s lovely being busy, answering students queries – even the things that seem little to us can be a huge relief to a student. The reception/issue/combined services / circulation /help desk (or whatever they are called in the library you work in) is so important to student’s experience of the library.

I’m still pretty new at City and this was only my second desk session. I did find myself asking my colleagues a fair few questions which in previous jobs I would have just known. Every library does things differently and I do have to remind myself I worked at my first University for 9 years and so knew the system inside out. In my next role I set the system up so obviously knew what was going on. Almost every student has a different query. One of the skills librarians develop is being able to work out what a student really wants from what they say (even if what they say bears little relation to what they say) but when you are new somewhere and finding your way it can be more difficult to do this. I really enjoyed the desk and look forward to the time I just know the answer!

The other main working event today was using and learning about Google Analytics. I love statistics, analysing them, questioning them, think of the things they aren’t showing us. I’m going to be using it on the University’s library pages which will be fun!

I think it’s safe to say that my day was not a stereotypical librarian’s day – although I did issue some books and take some fines so maybe not so different!

Library Day in the Life – 6 Introduction.

My name is Helen Westwood and I am the subject librarian for Cass Business School. I only started this job in December but am really enjoying it! My previous role was establishing the LRC at INTO London.

This week (or at least the first 3 days of it) I am going to take part in the Library Day in the Life project for the first time (I’m hoping it will kick start me blogging here!). The idea came from Librarian by day and gives librarians a chance to document what they do. There is a twitter hastag if you want to follow on twitter #libday6 and Flickr, you tube and other blogs will be tagged with something like: librarydayinthelife

The wiki with a list of who’s taking part and links to their blogs etc is a good place to see the variety of librarians.

I’ll only be doing it until Wednesday as on Thursday I am having jaw surgery and won’t be doing much librarian-ing.

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