Tuesday, May 14, 2013

. . . And Other Duties as Assigned

Artwork by John LeMasney, lemasney.com.

Some days (or weeks, or months) it's hard to feel like I'm accomplishing anything. There's always so much to do, and it's hard to feel that there's progress when the tasks--even when they're fun--are repetitive. As soon as I finish a book order, I start another book order. We are also doing some realignment at my library, which made me really think about what it is I actually do at work. So I'm taking a step back and listing my current job duties here--both because they may soon change, and because sometimes I need a reminder of how much I actually accomplish for my job.

I'm a reference librarian, which means I spend 4-5 hours a day on desk, five or six days a week (unless I'm working on a Friday), helping people. I'm finding patrons books and other materials, pointing them toward the bathroom and the exit, fielding microfilm requests and helping people use our venerable machines, recommending books, and helping patrons fill out those horrifically complicated online job applications or teaching them how to upload a profile picture to Facebook. At the same time, I'm checking the tables and disposing of trash, picking up books and stacking them on the cart for counting use and reshelving, keeping my eye out for patrons who look like they might need help, and trying to get other work done as I can while still looking approachable at the desk.

Whether I'm on desk or not, I am responsible for:
  • Collection management (ordering, replacing, moving from "new" status to the regular stacks, weeding) for parts of the nonfiction collection that include more than 25,000 items in a variety of subject areas.
  • Collection management of more than 26,000 paperbacks across 10 locations. This includes taking in stacks of donations and evaluating their suitability for the collection.
  • Collection management for the adult graphic novel collection at my library and six branches.
  • Collection management for the system's young adult video game collection, housed at two locations.
  • Teaching two or more classes (usually Computer Basics and Microsoft Excel) for up to 14 students each two-month session of computer classes, and assisting my co-workers with their classes.
  • Keeping the paperback display area stocked with books and changing it monthly. It's a bit big for one theme, so I usually do one on each half. I also do the National Poetry Month display.
  • Gathering materials and sending them to my two homebound patrons.
  • Ordering the few museum passes that the library offers and keeping them up to date.
  • Pursuing continuing education opportunities--attending and presenting at conferences, etc.
  • Maintaining a stream of information on the library's Google+ page.
...and other duties as assigned, which includes any number of things they don't teach you in library school.

I don't know what the future holds, but my five-year anniversary at this library is this month. I've added a lot of responsibilities since I started working here, and have come to feel very proprietary about my work and my library. I will try to continue challenging myself by taking on new projects, presenting, and talking about what I'm doing, but I also want to balance that with my desire to help library patrons--with whatever they need--on a one-on-one basis. My collection development responsibilities are very important to me as well.

I know they say libraries can't be all things to all people, but when it comes down to ME, I want to do it all. And hey, that's a lot of stuff that I juggle every day! I am proud of myself--and will bookmark this post for those days when it feels like nothing is getting done.

Want to know more about Show Me the Awesome? Check out these posts by Kelly, Liz, and Sophie.


I keep finding myself remembering more things I do as a part of my job that I haven't listed here. For example, at least twice a year I co-teach a class on grantwriting basics or grant budgeting with one of my colleagues, drawing on knowledge from my nonprofit office-working days. I don't know what it means that I can't seem to remember everything that I do.

No comments: