Friday, July 30, 2010

Library day in the life ... day 5

"I venture to say that Ottawa will become in the course of ages the Florence of Canada, if not of America [...]. Old Vasari said that there was a certain 'air' in Florence which possessed a magical potency in exciting intellectual and imaginative energy [...]. I have noticed the same thing about Ottawa. Perched upon its crown of rock, a certain atmosphere flows about its walls, borne upon the breath of the prevailing north-west wind, an intellectual elixir, and oxygenic essence thrown off by immeasurable tracts of pine-clad mountain and crystal lake."
Archibald Lampman, "At the Mermaid Inn,"
Toronto Globe, February 1893, as quoted here.

Friday! Hey, guys - I did the whole week of Library day in the life!

Another friend's birthday (he actually got *a phone call* - and you know I hate talking on the phone).

How do I know it's Friday? I start at 10, and I can tell it's Friday because there are no drunks passed out in front of the LCBO waiting for it to open (it's already open by the time I go by on Fridays).

Got to work and saw a construction belt and tools all over the floor. One of the random security-related things that happened this week was that a glass shelf at the circ desk fell and scared the crap out of a lovely young girl. So someone came to repair that this morning. Then the IT guy came back with the CD/DVD drive he had to pick up for me from Constellation.... Hey, it's repair guy Friday! I've never been in the library with only *two men* before. Our estrogen levels in the building dipped dangerously low.

On Fridays, most branches (except for Main and a few others) open from 1-6, so Friday mornings (when I work them, every 2nd week) are precious quiet time.

Some great stuff came in on hold for me today, including This is a soul (for Kris, actually) and The very thought of you... Yay. Must remember to bring home more books this weekend. This is the way the books go: they get checked in, pop up on hold for me, go to my holds shelf in the staff workroom, I check them out and put them on my desk, and then my desk becomes my own personal library - I grab one when I finish something else and bring it home for a few days. Aaaah. The true joy of working in a library. Right now there are 16 on my desk (I cull four and take 2 home tonight) and I have suspended my holds for a month to deal with that pile.

Employee calls in late; stupid buses. Other employee bangs on door to be let in; we go over tasks for the day. I am thrilled to report that due to lots of extra staffing this month, we are all caught up, circ-wise: we've had serious backlogs of grey bins and trucks to shelve, but we now have a clean slate after doubling up page shifts for weeks. I develop a few special projects for the pages to do today, including pulling more Shared collections and shifting the Language collection (implementing that idea from 4:30 am the other day).

Two other employees arrive; go over same tasks. Approve some leave for an employee. Read our City librarian's interview in Metro news...

Then I get 45 minutes blissfully uninterrupted time to work on an article I am writing about the history of public libraries in Ottawa. A page passes by with the mail and says "Nothing for you today, Ma'am!"

I am deep in the Lampham quote above when I realise it's 11:20 and I have to meet someone for lunch to discuss the course we are both teaching (me = morning full-time kids; her = evening part-time kids) at Algonquin in the fall at 11:30 at my favourite place.

  1. Looking for the 600s?
  2. Where did you get your library degree?
  3. Can you authorise a renewal of this book even though there is a waiting list? [yes because we have other copies checked in at other branches; this is the kind of question that comes to me for evaluation from circ].
  4. What happened with that weird book last week I couldn't put on hold? [I e-mailed Collection Management and we fixed the record and placed your hold]
  5. How do ILLs work?
  6. Question about our city art in the building; specifically, the Gollner Morse code pieces (see right).
  7. Can I check out my wife's hold without her card? [No, sorry].
  8. Requêtes pour livres en français: including this.
  9. Wicca, pantheism, paganism....
  10. [WORST PERFUME SMELL EVER] Seriously, I think I would rather body odour. Must turn on fans....
  11. Can I have the hours of every branch?
  12. Wow, you changed a lot here in the renovations....
  13. There's another library in Ottawa, right? Downtown? [33 in fact! And yes, Main is downtown. Directions....]
  14. More concerns about not enough French novels at Rideau. We did significant weeding over the past four years, in part because of space, and mostly because of circulation. This community has changed a lot; while it is still very, very Francophone in some areas, it is also largely multilingual and there are many new Canadians. Our French novels circulate well at Cumberland and other suburban branches, less so here. It was a tough choice to make, but I think we did the right thing in tightening up the collection. It's just harder for older patrons who prefer browsing to ordering (with my help).
  15. Call to Nepean Centrepointe re. reference question for a friend...
  16. The Express copy of this book was due yesterday... is it back? [No; someone still has it out... it's late] "Well, that's rude!"
  17. Dude on cell phone in lobby but facing the library upstairs so we can still hear you.....!!!!
  18. Fill displays in various places
  19. Change signage to reflect move of Lang. collection.
  20. Inform staff via e-mail of move of Lang. collection.
  21. I like watching people look up when they enter the branch; I love the wooden beams, too.
  22. Question about requirements for entering an undergraduate program.
  23. J'etais au chalet et j'ai manqué mes requêtes... Pourriez-vous les re-commander?
  24. Where are books on CD?
  25. Washroom?
  26. Water fountain?
  27. If I return this to another library in Ottawa, is that OK?
  28. I did some work relating to RA in a day 2010. The event will be hosted at the new Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library. The planned sessions include a session by Rachel van Riel of the British program, ‘Opening the Book,’ focusing on a reader-centred approach in libraries, Dr. Raymond Mar presenting research on the power of reading and the effect of reading on the brain, a session about book trailers (which I am leading). The invited author is Andrew Pyper.
  29. Sir, please put the privacy screen back up on the computer..... (why do we have privacy screens? Read this).
  30. Is there a public printer here? Can I connect via my laptop?
  31. Do I need to sign in to use a computer? [Full computer orientation given]
  32. I can't find this book on the shelf.... [I found it in the place it should have been. This totally happens all the time and I have mastered the whole "not insulting the patron's intelligence" thing. "Oh, I've totally done the same thing" or "It's easy to miss! We have many books here, you know!" usually works].
  33. Art gallery and museum passes reservation en français....
  34. I have my card today! [Does this happen to you? Patrons come in continuing a convo they had with you a week ago... In my case, I usually struggle to figure out what they mean. In this case it was a hold, actually an ILL - I had to re-explain ILL procedures].
  35. Time to shake the printer toner to see if I can get some more out of it....
  36. Signed up 2 more kids for SRC; they are new Canadians and I spent a lot of time with them explaining SRC and other library stuff.
  37. Where are my holds? [new Canadians again, so spent some time with them giving general library instructions]
  38. Where are my holds? This was a scavenger hunt: one on the shelf in the right place but squished; one on the truck behind circ not yet put away; one in the wrong place alphabetically.... Argh!
  39. I'd like to use a computer...
  40. I'd like to reserve a book....
  41. Joke books [in a wheelchair, so I fetched].
  42. Made some final photocopies from the last book I ordered about the history of the city and Carnegie libraries in Ontario (for article I am working on); returned books and saved draft article.
  43. Help getting started on e-mail and chat.
  44. Long elaborate help on another computer with opening a Word doc in Hotmail, complicated by new Hotmail system (???) and security restrictions on our PCs. Gah!
  45. E-mail to Saturday staff with tasks...
  46. Confusion over where a health CD-ROM is shelved (who uses CD-ROMs anymore?)
  47. Patron: "My book has arrived already!" Inside Alex's head: "???" Outside of Alex's mouth: "Wonderful! If you look on these shelves, under your family name...."
  48. Patron thanks me for my patience. Well, that's appreciated! Esp. last thing on a Friday.
  49. Hey it's 5:55 and there are only, oh, 16 people in here... Let's go!
  50. I passive-aggressively turn out some lights.
  51. Convo with a regular about next week's Art Gallery program for kids...
Done, baby, done!

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