Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Library day in the life, Round 6, Day 3

Wheeee! Halfway through the week.

So last night I looked up who else - that I actually personally know - is doing Library Day in the Life this round. Here is my shout-out to friends, colleagues, etc. I'm in such good company!
Wednesday, Wednesday... Today is our first legal aid clinic, and I am nervous. During the 20-minute walk to work (it has warmed up, but not enough to stop wearing gloves under mittens) I think about the clinics, and the programs for the rest of the week. I have to find some time to prep my class for next Monday, also... Then there's the weekend - what to eat, what to do...

Arrive at work 8:45 am. Phone is ringing, but I can't get it in time. The first thing I do is take down the 77th birthday stuff before I forget. Before we open, I try to knock off the tasks I am avoiding, or those which require me to be physically away from the Info desk. This includes analysing and withdrawing some damaged material, dismantling and re-filling displays, and making notes about upcoming programs and preparations required (why does February's schedule already look like something threw up on it?). I also synched my Outlook schedule with the (shared, paper) Info desk schedule up until the end of March. Things will still change, but this way it's mostly up to date. Finally, I called a local bakery to arrange for a donation of day-old pastries for Coffee with a police officer on Friday. Asking the bakery was a suggestion made by a community partner - and I thought it was great. We're lucky to have such good neighbours...

Oh, and I read the news and laughed at this: What books will do with all their free time when libraries close. I also printed it out and stuck it on our withdrawals shelf - hee hee.

10:05-10:45: Storytime for a local Kindergarten class. I love this class; their teacher is brilliant and the kids, many of whom come from low-income families or are new Canadians, are a great group. I always make sure I take a little extra time with them, because they are a chatty group who really benefit from dialogic reading; they are also well-trained enough (that sounds demeaning, but I use the phrase in the kindest sense; also, literally, their wonderful teacher *has* trained them how to behave on class visits and during storytimes. You can tell they are read to in class, even if not at home in many cases) to listen and answer questions. I also gave them plenty of opportunities to shake their sillies out, which kept the chaos to a minimum. This morning, I read three of my favourite winter books: Red sled, Penguins, and No. I know this group well enough to know they would have plenty to talk about in these stories, even if they are very simple, and I knew they would already have learned about hibernation, so No would be fun for them. Interestingly (disturbingly?), one child observed there was no mother in Red sled - "Where's the Mom?" he asked. I suggested a few scenarios (she's at work, she's out getting groceries - more marshmallows for the hot chocolate!) and then asked them what they thought. It was an interesting discussion. One child (joker in the class) suggested she was dead in the snow, and I was so taken aback it took me a second to figure out how to address it. I decided to be reassuring, but now I wonder if maybe I should have dug a little deeper there (acknowledging that the mum could be dead, asking if anyone knows someone who has died - something along those lines). Partly, I was thinking the teacher might address this later in the day (as I have said probably too many times now, she's quite good), and partly I was simply thinking I didn't want to get too side-tracked (that's so petty! Sorry! But I was conscious of the time, and the empty Info desk...). Hmm. See? Doing Library Day in the Life makes us all more reflective, and gives others examples of the strange and interesting things we deal with every day. Anyone else have insight into this situation? Comment away.

After storytime, I re-filled the winter-themed display in the children's dept. with books I have finished with for winter programming, and I ensured the stories I used this morning are catalogued in my LibraryThing account for future winter picture book needs.

11-11:05: Review plans for outreach storytime on Friday to a local French preschool. Here is the gameplan, in case you are interested in seeing what an entirely organised contes en francais looks like (I'm not always this organised, but esp. in French I sometimes like to have a script).

11 - 12:30: Info desk duty! Seen, heard and responded to:
  • "I can't seem to get to this website..." (needed to press "enter")
  • "I'm trying to reach the Friends of Library and Archives Canada, and I called LAC, but the recording gave me 8 options, none of which applied." Found this, called it for the patron to check it was a human on the other end. It was! (and a friendly human, too!)
  • "I want to know more about this movie... it's called Broadcast news? I want some critical opinions and stuff." (database search...)
  • Chit-chat with manager re. job shadow opportunity for a student here (this will be my 3rd shadow - one coming on Friday, too - more on that later), and various admin issues at Rideau and (mostly) Rockcliffe Park.
  • Flagged down the page to ask their opinion about the new pick up signs.
  • Stressed about a potential Freedom to read week event for LANCR that is having some growing pains...
  • E-mail....
  • Added "The Firestone Story" to the events database.
  • Why do I have the Hiroshima peace song in my head? Flashback to SSCC 1990. Actually, I get this in my head a lot. I guess it's catchy?
  • Walked a patron through the process of accessing back issues of the Globe and Mail using the databases, over the phone.
  • Garfield en fran├žais?
  • Various requests placed for patron who has just walked over from Chapters (that happens a lot).
  • Job shadow student replies to our e-mail already - "how about tomorrow?" Eeek!
  • Finished adding the Firestone event.
12:30ish - 1:30ish: Lunch!

1:30ish - 2:45: I worked in my basement office on the January monthly report and statistics for programs at the library this month. So far, 187 people have attended programs in January 2011 (and we're not done yet!). That's a slow month for us, frankly.

2:30: My boss says two people have already showed up for the legal aid clinic - hooray!!!!!

2:45-3:00: Covered my colleague's break at Info. To be honest, I didn't even sit down during the 15 minutes. First, someone wanted a list of all our Wii games (we compromised on a print-out of the first few pages of results, since we have over 200). During the time I was working on that, the patron was chatting about various things and I ended up giving her a list of programs at Rideau Branch, which she was quite interested in. "Oh, I can come here!" she exclaimed, "instead of being lonely at home!" While I was talking to her, I could see our partner for the legal aid clinics had arrived (man in suit carrying briefcase = dead giveaway at 3 pm in the library!) but he escaped again before I could catch him. I guessed (correctly) he went downstairs and discovered the program room door locked. He came back up, I introduced myself, and we went downstairs. I quickly introduced myself to the 10 people (!!!!) who were waiting outside the door, or who trailed us downstairs, and explained the building basics (washroom, etc). Then I came back upstairs and had a totally frustrating conversation with a patron about the Internet computers. Let's just not re-live that, OK?

3 - 4 pm: More office work. Made a list of who I need to stalk by phone tomorrow for that Freedom to read week event, made a sign thanking the bakery for the snacks for Friday's event, answered some more e-mail, including a request for a class visit at Rockcliffe Park Branch (which I am temporarily also supervising), e-mailed various possible community partners re. more adult programming ideas, delegated some of the "grunt work" for another Children's collection replacement list, and quickly reviewed notes and questions for a meeting tomorrow morning regarding an online General education course I might be teaching this summer at Algonquin (since that's not work, let's call that my "break" that I didn't take, K? Sometimes a girl is just too tired to climb two sets of stairs to the staffroom...).

4-5 pm: On-desk again! Taught a patron how to make a computer reservation, received congratulations on a successful legal aid clinic (!), discussed ESL reference question with colleague, put finishing touches on the monthly report, assigned some shifts at Rideau and Rockcliffe Park Branch, "have any books come in for me yet?," "where are my holds? [...] Do I still have to check them out?," wrapped-up/debriefed with legal aid clinic partner, changed the posters to next week's legal aid clinic topic, locked the program room up, busted someone on a cell, pulled some fiction for a Black History Month display (and re-used sign I made last year for St Laurent Library!), and done!


  1. You would have been helpful on our RSD this morning. An African man who was on our ESL tour came to as about French materials and then bemoaned the fact that, based on his experience, no one speaks French in Canada, Alors! I showed him our collection but again had to disappoint because we did not have dual language books for adults. Merci Beaucoup!


  2. Thanks Alex! We should meet one of these days...

  3. @ Laura - we should! I think we were at some of the same sessions @ OLA this year, but on opposite sides of the room.....!

    @ Diana - I'll visit anytime. Or you can just call me and I can talk in French :)