Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 2

Happy Virginia Woolf's birthday (seen via) and also Robert Burns Day!

On this day in 1934, Rideau Branch had its formal opening ceremony, which included the singing of a Scottish song (since it was Burns Day).

In honour of Woolf, I present an unedited, stream-of-consciousness day...
  • Mmmmm, coffee and newsfeeds.....
  • Drat I forgot to choose all my books for storytime this morning.
  • OLA presentation - added images, edited speaking notes, sent some e-mails to colleagues asking for specific help with stats or images.
  • And we're open! First question: "Do you have this chicklit book translated in French?"
  • Canada411 search for patron.
  • "What is the newest book by Peter Victor?"
  • Storytime! Winter theme this week. I was going to take a picture of the hilarious way the felt snowman was assembled by the kids but one of the parents tidied it by the time I got back downstairs with the camera.
  • Back to working on OLA presentation while on Info desk...
  • Request for Led Zeppelin CD.
  • "How can I find an article from the 1993 Fredericton Gleaner?" - showed patron how to fill out online ILL form
  • I nipped downstairs to clean up storytime and fetch two balloons to put up with a sign celebrating our birthday (also a laminated copy of French and English newspaper articles about the opening of the library, both from January 1934). It's been years since I blew up a balloon.....
  • A patron stopped by to ask for two more copies of our poster about the legal aid clinic tomorrow. He has kindly been posting them around the neighbourhood for me!
  • Next, I used my Vanna White skills to do a kind of charades version of how to pick up a request from the holds shelf for a patron who speaks very little English.
  • Sent e-mails with shifts available at Rideau Branch Info desk...
  • Floppy drive on one of our public PCs isn't working.... Logged with the service desk....
  • Dude on cellphone talking loudly = busted.
  • Girl who played with fire DVD request... "Aren't those books great?" I mmm'd non-commitally....
  • My colleague welcomed a Grade 5-6 Francophone class from a local school for a visit and booktalk at 12:40; I continued to hold down the Info desk, working on my OLA presentation all the while...
  • Taught a patron how to suspend holds while on vacation.
  • "Do you have any big tables to use for group work?" Um, no. Suggested they are welcome to use children's tables. Space at Rideau = at a premium.
  • Admitted defeat in trying to decipher intricacies of cataloguing of multilingual material at OPL and e-mailed Collection management for help...
  • Aaaand you can't use your phone in here....! x3. It's an epidemic.
  • 1:30 pm - lunch. Salad with dried cranberries and walnuts; lunchtime book for CLA BOYCA prize (about Lebensborn - interesting)
  • Set-up local Kindergarten class's storytime for tomorrow AM (one less thing to do tomorrow!)
  • 3 pm: Back up at Info...
  • Time to replace defective headphones on one of the public PCs.... Snip, snap, zip tie.
  • "I know I'm #8 on hold for a book but how long will it take? How many copies do you have?"
  • Checked out my own holds for programs, including ducks, stories that are songs, and spring (soon, my pretties!)
  • Back downstairs again to my desk for some "quiet time:" completed a reference letter for one of my former students, responded to e-mails, wrote reviews for BOYCA books, proofed the latest draft of the OLA presentation. I did the last task with stocking feet on my desk (very inappropriate while wearing a skirt, but no one was around). I have this mental picture of my dad reviewing sermons in his office at All Saints, Verdun, with feet on desk - I try to channel that feeling when I can.
  • 3:59ish - Back on Info so my colleague can eat her dinner.
  • "I'm looking for this book and it says it's here but I can't find it...."
  • Put up signs re. pick up... We're trying this pilot (mentioned yesterday) because so much material is ending up on the floor and radiators: we are putting up 3 signs (one on each radiator) in the annex asking people not to put books on the radiator, and 3 in children's (random shelves) asking people to put books on the tables. People don't really read signs, but we hope that in light of recent more-chaos-than-usual, it might help a bit for a finite period. While doing this, I cannot restrain myself from doing the pick-up at the same time. NEVER-ENDING.
  • Teenager: "Can I do my volunteer hours here?"
  • "Is my book ready yet? I can't remember the title, but I placed a request awhile ago."
  • Someone's parked in our driveway, blocking anyone from getting in or out. I go out with keys and a Post-it to write down the plates and make a general announcement; the family is right there, getting in the car, so I explain we have a parking lot with close to a dozen spaces but they can't park there!
  • Shelf check in the basement for Costa Rica travel books - found 4!
  • Filled the knitting display (nod to my librarian knitting friends: Thing 1 and Thing 2!)
  • 5 pm. Home! Picked up pizza at Bottega on the way, and cut through 2 buildings to stay warm(-ish). The temperature is finally rising, but it's still plenty damp.


  1. I urge you to rethink this:

    Aaaand you can't use your phone in here....! x3. It's an epidemic.

    There is nothing wrong with people talking on the phone in libraries. It's a place for the community and lots of people meet to chat with a fellow human being and are far noisier then people talking on the phone. Why not be pleasant and ask the person to turn off their ringer. You gain more respect this way.

  2. Rideau Branch is under 2000 sq. feet. People talking above a certain level, on the phone or not, usually disturb others. I generally leave it, unless I receive a complaint or notice others are disturbed by their behaviour. My policy is, your freedom to do whatever ends where someone else's freedom (to enjoy the library) begins. Thus I go over and say, sorry, but you can't use your phone in here, or, sorry, but if you're working in a group might I suggest.... [fill in the blank as appropriate].

    Ringers are not the problem. People shouting into their phones is. I am not in any way a fan of the old-school library, and I actively promote the library as a community space. Yelling into your phone does not foster a sense of community. I am consistent about yelling in general. If it's a quiet, quick phone call I don't actively seek out someone to "bust".

    Idealogically, I'm not thrilled with "no talking on the phone" as a policy, but unfortunately it's necessary in a library branch where people are essentially on top of one another.

    I think that the way I deliver the message, and the fact that these are people I see every day and often know by name, and have helped before, helps to foster respect. Perhaps my tone above was glib, and my attempt at humour could be easily misinterpreted. If you know me in person, you would hopefully realise that anything I say is prefaced with "Sorry, but...." and a smile.