Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On not working with the public

Well, well, well. The theme of this week could be Preparing.

We are in the thick of our ILS upgrade. A few surprising things happened:

Returns, sorted by collections, waiting for check-in

During our "offline" days, when we were open but using our backup (not live) system, to do check outs only, we had fewer returns than expected (see above).

It has also taken our system longer to upload data from our offline days; today and yesterday, branches were supposed to be starting to check in everything from our offline days, but we can't start until the data from the offline check outs is properly uploaded. Complicated, no? Well, not that complicated, but hard to plan for in some ways.

Since we can't start check ins, or frankly do anything on the new ILS, we've been a bit at a loss. We can't really open, since we can't do check outs now either while data is being uploaded (it would create a bit of a vicious circle, with data every day having to be newly uploaded, sort of the old "shoveling the walk while it's still snowing" adage...).

Transfers to other branches? Can't do it. Withdrawals of damaged items? Can't do it. Sending overflow of paperbacks via our "shared" collections? Can't do it.

My own work: placing requests to plan out class visits and displays for summer 2010? Can't do it. Zero circ: can pull it off the shelves, but can't withdraw it. Argh.

We've shelf-read the whole library, I've re-filled every display to perfection, the stacks are all dusted (this aft, our lovely Julio even VACUUMED THE TOPS OF THE STACKS - now that, my friends, is dedication).... The thing is, too, we can't go through too much and put aside a lot of damaged items, because that's just creating another shelf/box/book truck of stuff to deal with when we go live again. We have 9 trucks already, not to mention those 27 boxes, plus "grey bins" of material delivered from other branches prior to the migration not yet processed. Gah.

You know me, though - I can entertain myself no matter what. So yesterday, I cleaned up e-mail (mailbox approaching limit - nope, not Inbox, my Personal Folders! So I have to archive that stuff). In the afternoon, I had a moment of inspiration and decided to focus on new shelf-talkers. I keep meaning to get to them, and just run out of time (see the originals here). So I went through Fiction and Mysteries, and Teen and Juv and Adult Nonfic, jotted down titles I want to shelf-talk, and got started. Today, I am finishing up those, and I might even get creative with some new felts if I have time. I also prepared my Leo Lionni centennial birthday display, at right.

The other thing that I blissfully had uninterrupted time to work on this week was my big talk for Friday. I am presenting at the Ontario Association of Library Technicians (OALT) conference in Hamilton this coming Friday (programme). The talk is done, the notes are DONE, and I even had time to print, upload to this blog (R-hand menu bar on homepage), and save to USB.

By far, the best thing about this unexpected "down(-ish) time" has been being able to hang out with everyone else who works at Rideau branch. The irony of working with the public, and interacting with many, many people every day, is you have little time to interact with your colleagues. We rarely have a proper conversation, unless between 9-10 am before we open, and we never all sit down together and eat lunch. We also rarely work on a specific project as an entire team: yesterday, just taking all the labels off expired holds on the holds shelf was fun, because 3 of us were working on it together (I know, I know: how many library employees does it take...?) It's nice to hang out with your colleagues. I guess this is how employees who don't work with the public feel.

We all still miss the public, though. Seriously. It's too quiet. Especially since I turned off the Internet PCs. But there is something to be said for sitting in the kiddie chairs in the library, eating pizza with your friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment