A couple of weeks ago I took part in the Library Day in the Life Project. To take part, librarians record a working week either via a blog, Twitter, Flickr or any other social networking means. I had initially decided to use both my Twitter account and my blog, however, I found that I couldn't keep up with recording everything by Twitter so just used my blog instead.
I enjoyed reading other people's accounts - I read a wide range for three things:
- to find out what others did and whether I could learn from it in my role at work
- to discover whether they had a career I'd like for myself
- curiousity (occasionally known as nosiness)
In particular I liked Katy Stoddard's blog. Her job sounded interesting and exciting but I do wonder if these types of jobs will continue as I have never seen one advertised, plus this CILIP article on trends states library schools recommend not going down that route. I also enjoyed reading Don't call me miss as I enjoy the writing style and because I recognise many of her scenarios and Jo Alcock's blog mainly because I think the job must help you get a good overview of the profession, plus she gets to work from home occasionally!
What I discovered about my own working life.
I spend a lot of time explaining how things work! From the self-issue machine to electronic resources to the catalogue to general behaviour - all these featured quite heavily in my week, despite it being mid February and students have been using the service since September. Either they've just started taking their work seriously or somehow we are not getting our messages across - a bit of both I think.
Part of my job as a senior member of the team is to help develop the service, however, I've discovered that this element is beginning to deteriorate. This is mainly because, like everyone else, we are spread too thin. Seeing a breakdown of what I do just emphasised this point. Also having spent the week finding staplers and explaining how to use the self-issue machine meant I found it quite difficult to fully engage when I needed to, for example, the Matrix training where directors were present, as my brain went into slight meltdown. Don't get me wrong, I like helping students and I think that everyone should spend some time helping them, even if you're a manager, as you can see what students really need and not what you think they need. However, I think some quiet time is crucial in order to think clearly and properly and not just skim over tasks and fire fight.
I'm also concerned that we are becoming less professional as we are just trying to deal with every day as it comes. Luckily I get a lot of professional development outside of work by being part of ARLG LASEC, being a member of professional bodies like CILIP and SLA, by reading extensively, by attending LIKE, by writing book reviews and by applying for opportunities where I find them, e.g. applying to attend the ECCA Conference. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to apply this work and from reading the Chartership tweets it seems many others are in the same boat.
Where do we go from here?
For now, continue looking for opportunities to take up but be realistic about what I can actually fit in- easier said than done as I don't like missing out, however, the reason for this is that if I am spread too thin I will just be too tired to be of use in my workplace or outside of it.
Try to arrange training as part of ARLG LASEC which is appropriate for and appeals to people in similar positions to myself.
Raise my concerns with my line manager and put forward ways round the problems, for example, using tools like our group discussion Sharepoint lists more effectively or wikis so we can still collaborate and sound out ideas without having to meet up- it may be that nothing can be done but at least I've tried.
And lastly, remember to take part in the project next year!