A Day in the Life… of a Librarian!

Day in the life librarian

My name is Susan Renshaw and I have two roles: Deputy Librarian and Faculty of Arts Librarian.

No two days are the same for me but I will tell you about one of my days during induction week…

Last Tuesday I came into work as normal just before 8am to catch up on emails and look at my schedule for the day. We had planned a flash feedback session to start at 11am and I needed to make some final preparations. This involved writing out three different questions on large sheets of paper, finding coloured pens, and gathering up the food and drink we were providing.  I had some staff who were willing volunteers so I contacted them to go through the plans for the session.

Once all preparations were completed I then had to make sure I had everything ready for the inductions I had booked. Wednesday evening I was due to talk to a group of Masters students about all the Library had to offer and the following day I had tours and talks booked for film studies and journalism students.  I like to tailor my inductions so that the material I am showing relates to the subject the students are studying.  I therefore spent some time going through my list of example resources to make sure all the links worked prior to the sessions.

Once I was happy with my induction preparations it was time for a break before heading off to the boardroom for the Flash Feedback Session. I and several other Library staff decided how we would run the session. Two of us went out and about asking Freshers if they would like to answer three questions in return for cake and drink. Two other staff stayed in the room to welcome students and explain what we would like them to do. Many new students were more than happy to help us, but a few viewed my offer with suspicion and made their polite excuses.  I was really pleased with the responses overall though. Our three questions were “What do you expect from your Library?”, “What is the best way to communicate with students?” and “Would you like the Library to offer any extra-curricular activities?”.

By the end of the session we were down to our last packet of cakes, and as I had bought plenty, that showed how popular our session turned out to be! I have looked at the responses and am really pleased. Thankfully we are offering everything students expect, plus we are offering extra resources/services which they are unaware of.  Secondly, we had some useful ideas regarding how to better improve communication with our students.  I was really interested in the comments regarding extra-curricular events.  I will need look through these carefully and think if and how we can offer some of the things suggested.

So at 2pm, we packed up our materials and remaining cakes/drinks and returned to the Library. I returned to a mass of emails which I proceeded to work through. I receive a range of emails, these can be anything from tutor enquiries, library staff messages and questions, students’ enquiries and queries and other random ones such as adverts for training events. I also often have to deal with issues relating to fines which can be quite complex. I then spent some time looking at my staff training notes. As it is the beginning of the new academic year, I always carry out desk refresher training with all staff to ensure that we are providing the highest level of customer service and are consistent in our approach.

I also needed to contact our casual staff to arrange their working hours prior to the start of term. This involves liaising with the staff regarding their availability so that I don’t give them shifts which will clash with their studies.  Once this was sorted I was then able to put up a draft desk rota for Library staff to fill in. It is quite a complex process manning the two desks we have in the Library, and sorting out the rota often feels like doing a complex suduko puzzle!

I went home feeling quite pleased with how much had been achieved during the day but also ready for a well-earned rest!”

Susan no subject