Friday, 28 January 2011

Library Day in the Life - Friday

This is the last post of a week's blogging on my daily work in the Library for the Library Day in the Life project. It's been great to see other people's posts and to feel part of the huge community of library and information staff out there. It's also been intriguing for me to reflect on what I take for granted each day, or do without stopping to think too much. Hopefully any readers of these posts will have found them a useful insight into what a modern academic library information service is like. Thanks for reading!

Missing books
My team looks after missing book reports for the main collection. We get a lot of reports of missing items, but I've regularly shared my feelings with colleagues that we don't go about it in the best fashion. This meeting gives me the chance to try and change things, and I make my case. Making changes isn't easy in the library - there are a lot of stakeholders who all need to have their say, and we have several layers of decision making bodies. However, we make a recommendation which goes on to the next level.

Liaison librarian meeting
I've invited our team of liaison librarians to a meeting - it's very rare for all of us to be together at the same time like this, and I do my best to make the most of it. The subject is electronic resources, and my message is clear - our e-collection is growing rapidly, and we need to scale our liaison service to match it. Everyone understands of course, being the a switched-on and super professional group that they are, and we have some good discussions and make some plans. Promotion, discoverability and support are identified as key areas to work on.

Lunch - Library vision seminar, with Dave Parkes, from University of Staffordshire.
Our Director of Library Services, Liz Chapman has arranged a series of lunchtime seminars for LSE Library staff to hear from notable people in the profession in order to help us think about the future for LSE's own library.

This is the last scheduled session, and Dave Parkes gave an excellent and thought-provoking seminar, touching on the potential of new technologies, harnessed by librarians who can utilise them in the context of rapid change in the profession. The way he spoke so enthusiastically about this reminded me of this excellent blog post by Andy Burkhardt. I think that the tools Dave mentioned, like haptic interfaces, shouldn't be defined by what has already been, but understood for what they can do for us in the future.

Straight after the lunch session I'm on call for the desk. It's quiet, which is great as it's a wall-to-wall busy day. After half an hour my colleague Barbara takes over from me so I can grab some much needed lunch.

More ebooks
I speak to a representative from a large publisher on the phone, and I'm very excited by what I hear - no problematic DRM, flexibility over title-by-title selection, nice platform, discounts for bulk purchases. This ticks enough boxes to take a lot further. I'm takes with extending the libraries ability to purchase ebooks, but I'm negotiating hard to do it on the best terms for the library in each instance. This looks very promising - Monday will bring a few tests and a closer examination of coverage. I've been here before only to find out that the publisher only books the rubbish books on the platform and keeps the desirable stuff in print only still.

A colleague has asked to find out more about what I do. She's brave because anyone who works with me knows I don't need much encouragement to talk about myself and my job. Especially on a Friday afternoon. Anyway, we spend an hour in the Senior Common Room chatting about things, and it's only in conversations like this that I realise the full extent of my job, and the possibilities that it holds. I lament that I don't have the time to do everything I'd like, also realise it's up to me to make these goals happen.

I expect I got as much out of the conversation as she did. Much like these blog posts, stopping to reflect is a hugely valuable and instructive tool in making the most out of your job,

Friday evening means a guilt-free trip to The George. See you in there. My round.

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