Library Day in the Life 4 – TGIF Edition

I woke up raring to go today, so after a trip to work complete with car-dancing and a stop at Starbucks, I was ready to work.

First off was finishing this month’s orders. I saved the best for last – the 600s! This is always my favorite section. So much variety, and so much of it is really popular with patrons. Some random selections from what I ordered today:

After that, I processed my patron requests for the week. They have become a lot more manageable this year since we cut down the number of active ILL requests patrons can have (yes, right now everything goes through ILL. we’re working on a system to have purchase requests be submitted separately). I have had almost half as many as I used to have. What used to take me a good half of the day or longer now takes just a couple hours.

After lunch, I took care of the last couple stragglers in the Extensive Searching/Nancy Drew ILLiad queue, fixing titles and saying no can do.

The rest of the afternoon is spent with email and gathering info and documents to start compiling info for my sections of our draft collection development plan. Getting going on this is one of our big goals for the year. I’m looking at what another couple libraries have done and also pulling some from our weeding guidelines. Our plan is going to explain, in general terms, what our guiding principles and processes are for developing the library collection. This will be one of those documents that is continually evolving, but you have to start somewhere, so we’re trying to get something down on paper. I think this is going to be a really good process. We’ll be getting input from our branch staff once we get a draft. I think it will really help all of us to be on the same page. And I really like the idea of more transparency with our patrons on how/what we buy.

And on that note, it is the weekend and time to RELAX. Thanks for checking this out. I really plan to post more. I swear.


Library Day in the Life 4 – Thursday

Thursday. I love Thursday. It’s almost Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

Had scads of email when I got in. Delete, delete, delete. Peered into the twitterscope and Friendfeed and a couple library blogs – fer reals! I read actual library blogs. I know, right?

Had a pow-wow with my supervisor and co-worker, talking about the meeting re: floating yesterday. A debriefing, of sorts. Can I just say, I love the people I work with? Our vision and attitudes in regards to our collection are so in sync. We just work well together. that, and we are all awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I finished up the cart of 700s I started yesterday afternoon. Cart wrangling can be sort of tedious, mostly because of the TitleSource interface. [don’t even get me started on the UI nightmare that is TitleSource3. I will go on for days.] For the bigger areas, I have multiple carts (divided either by Dewey subcategories or broad subjects) for titles I want to purchase. When it comes time to buy, I have to move the ones I want to buy into a new cart, but it’s all a guessing game at that point, because I haven’t always pre-determined how many copies of everything I will buy. So I make a best guess and see how close that is to my target budget amount once I have everything allocated. Often I end up having to move some stuff back and save it for another month; once in a while, I’m under and it’s like Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚

My last cart of the month will be 600s. I tend to save it for last, because I often have many patron requests in this area, so those will chip away at my monthly budgeted amount, so it is just easier to wait and see how much is left.

Before tackling the float carts of the day, I had to stop and take ibuprofen. If I am going to have sore muscles post-exercise, it hits me about 20 hours later. The shoulders and arms got a workout yesterday at yoga, so there you go.

Big chunk of graphic novels to re-allocate today. Mostly Marvel. lots of juvenile nonfiction too, so good news for the new library, which is looking for more. ๐Ÿ™‚

And thus we have another day down in the non-stop-thrill-a-minute life of this collection development librarian.


Library Day in the Life 4 – Wednesday

Today was not terribly exciting or different from any other day.

I spent a good chunk of the morning getting a cart of 900s ready to purchase. The hardest part of buying books is always deciding which ones to buy, since there’s never enough money to buy everything you want. It’s especially tight right now because we’re tweaking our budget year and trying to stretch our budgets. not an unusual thing these days. Right now, my criteria is:

  1. Books I have noted to get asap to fill a particular hole or a new edition of a current title, then
  2. Books with favorable reviews
  3. Other books that sound interesting (though there are fewer of those thrown in these days).

It’s definitely not a precise science. The 900s always have LOTS in the #1 category because of all the travel guides. We’re putting a bunch more on standing order when our new budget year starts in a few months, so that will help a whole lot. This batch included quite a few local travel guides, which are definitely in demand.

We had our monthly Collection Confabulation meeting, which is a brown bag lunch discussion we hold here. Every month is a different topic, and we invite branch staff down to talk about collection stuff. Today’s discussion was on floating, so we had many more attending than usual. It was a good discussion, and I think we got some good ideas out of it on how we can continue to tweak things and make the system work for everyone.

Speaking of floating, in the afternoon, I cleared out two more carts of float books to be distributed, armed with my new knowledge of what people want/don’t want. I actually feel a bit better about weeding some of the areas I don’t select, like YA fiction, so that part was easier too.

I also started getting a 700s cart ready to go and will finish that up tomorrow.

Like I said, not a whole lot of new or different today. I left work and went to my much-needed yoga class, which didn’t seem to aggravate my elbow that has been bothering me (not too much, at least), so that was also a good thing. Getting old sucks. And we did some awesome assisted wheel poses, so I was happy. That’s my favorite pose (yes, I know. I’m weird).

Then I came home, had dinner, and wrote this post. The End.


Library Day in the Life 4 – Tuesday

Fun morning!

First thing was a trip to the dentist – just for a cleaning, luckily. I bet you are jealous though, right?

Then, since I was in the neighborhood for the dentist appointment, I stopped in to order a new pair of glasses, since it’s a new year and they are covered by insurance. I, uh, may have a problem when it comes to glasses. This is what I chose:

Menizzi 1081 glasses

Eventually, I found myself at work. Checked email and the usual web locales. Dealt with a few more staff/patron suggestions and set aside a printout of a couple catalog records that appear to be the same book to give to the head of Tech Svcs.ย  The physical inbox is EMPTY (well, it isn’t anymore, but for a couple hours, it was!).

Got a response back from a patron on one of the ILL requests I was working on. Realized the simple article request was really a full-blown reference question that needed some research. Tweeted something to that effect, which went to Facebook, and got a response from one of the Information Services staff to send it to them – which is exactly what I was planning to do!ย  We connected later and the request is now in their virtual hands.

I need to figure out the best way to keep up with the review journals. Now that I have such a significant portion of the adult nonfiction, it’s a bit harder to keep up. Right now, I am still looking at the paper copies as they come through. It’s sort of working, but really easy for me to get behind if I get too busy with other stuff. I can get them through TitleSource, but I am finding that more cumbersome to deal with right now than the dead tree versions. Pondering, pondering, pondering…

Finished off the rest of the Nancy Drew queue in ILLiad.

Sorted out the last of yesterday’s Float cart and grabbed another. a big chunk of this one is actually one of my areas – the 200’s (religion). a fair amount of things to weed this time.

and that was all she wrote for Tuesday. I am pretty sure there was some other stuff in there today, but… oh well.ย  Time to relax for the evening.


Library Day in the Life 4 – Monday

It’s another edition of Library Day in the Life, where you can follow along as I talk about the exciting (hey, I think it’s exciting!) goings-on in the world of this collection development librarian. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Monday started with the daily visit to Starbucks for a nonfat Awake Tea Latte. the day cannot begin without some caffeine.

The first order of business, as always, is catching up on the email, and a perusal of the social networks (twitter and Friendfeed, in my case).

I have a few FirstLook carts to review, so I prepped them for review. These are carts sent monthly from Baker & Taylor highlighting forthcoming titles. I got through the general nonfiction one, but I still have two Science/Technical/Medical carts to review.

My email included a few purchase suggestions from patrons/branches, so I reviewed those and added them to my carts for future purchase. I also had a couple of books that had been donated laying around, so I got those ready to be given to the Acquisitions dept. to be added to the cataloged. Decided we need a couple more copies of one of them, so I added those to a cart too.

I am working on revising our genealogy booklist, so I emailed the librarian I am going to work with on this to arrange a time to get together. If we are lucky, I’ll also be able to talk with her about the areas she’s in charge of at the main library. We’re trying to increase our communication with the librarians at the main library in regards to their collection, so this would be a good opportunity.

aaaaaand, it’s lunchtime!

I believe that during the last round, we had just started floating our collections (materials stay wherever they get checked in).ย  We are still figuring this out, but overall it’s going pretty well. Those of us here in collection development are involved in an additional way now. As you can imagine, sometimes branches get overwhelmed with materials for certain areas. We have an email group for them to ask for/offer up books and some other set routines (Branch xx sends their overflow to Branch yy).ย  Anything that isn’t claimed comes to us here in Collection Development, and we decide what to do: basically, re-allocate or weed. The carts we get are almost always a mish-mash of a variety of areas and are sometimes a challenge, since you can get stuff you aren’t familiar with at all, like when I get a whole bunch of YA graphic novels. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  And they can take a loooong time to get through, since you pretty much have to touch each book.

Here’s today’s cart:

Float cart

Sometimes these are duplicates (branch had more copies than they want on the shelf), sometimes they are ones that have been sitting around for a while, sometimes they’re just random ones that didn’t fit on the shelf that particular day. Lots of random on this cart for sure.

That took up a big hunk of time. I finished out the day with some work in ILLiad. moving some requests to different queues, canceling some requests we aren’t buying, and doing some sleuthing on the “what the heck are these” requests. They’re my favorites!





Library Day in the Life – Friday

Ah, Friday. blessed Friday. I am writing this post with a margarita to the left of me and a purring cat on the right (under my arm. typing is a challenge). What was most unusual about today is how much time I was able to focus on just one thing: collection development for the new branch opening day collection. This was a continuation of the selecting that I started last night, and let me tell you: this is FUN. Subjects I was looking for books on today:

  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Quilting
  • Beading (need some more here still)
  • Sewing
  • Some general craft-y ones
  • Drawing
  • A big chunk of the Peterson Field Guides

(yes, one of these things is not like the other)

Like I said, FUN. just browsing through lists on TitleSource and Amazon of popular stuff, getting recommendations from crafty people I know (thank you all!), checking our catalog.

Besides that, I did the familiar: email/Friendfeed/Twitter, worked a bit on patron request sleuthing in ILLiad (thanks again to my friends for helping me with a comics question there). I also stopped and chatted with our division director and arranged to meet with her early next week to take over the selection of the 700’s. That’s the arts and recreation section – all those craft books like what I was buying up above, plus art, sports, games, and, of course, lots of other stuff.ย  whee!ย  Read a couple issues of Entertainment Weekly (IT’S FOR MY JOB. I NEED TO STAY UP ON POP CULTURE.). Got a batch of new books for the Staff Library, so I need to get the blog updated (I do new posts for all the new books, since the Staff Library materials are not yet in our catalog. don’t ask.). But that’s something for next week.

Monday, I will start all over again. Hope you found it interesting. or at least, not *too* boring. ๐Ÿ™‚


Library Day in the Life – Thursday

yikes! Usually I write my post as the day progresses, but that didn’t happen today.

Started the day like all the others, with email/Friendfeed/Twitterness. After that, I met with my supervisor for a bit so she could hand off a new project to me. yay! We have a queue in ILLiad that has all the requests that our ILL staff can’t find and need further investigation, and I will get to monitor it. This means I get to play detective. love it! So I spent a big chunk of my day in ILLiad – resolving a few things that were in the queue, and also processing a whole slew of requests for items we aren’t buying that we need to try to ILL.

Also related to those last requests, I readied up a cart of patron requests that we are buying and sent that to the Acquisitions dept. I have one last batch of patron requests for items found only in Amazon/other sources, and then my small backlog will be caught up. But really, I’ll never be caught up on patron requests.

We also still have an old-school paper form that patrons can fill out to request either specific materials or general subjects they’d like to see. They still filter through once in a while, and I reviewed one of those today, saying no to both. One was out of print and only available through used booksellers, the other super expensive and only owned by academic libraries.

That pretty much sums up my day, other than more email and routine stuff.

Oh! Off and on through the morning/early afternoon, I also checked in on the Handheld Librarian online conference, both through directly and through the backchannel on twitter. Heard some interesting things. Some provocative statements I don’t necessarily agree with about the future of libraries – which is okay, because it’s spurring conversation. And seeing questions from some of the librarians attending was a good reminder to me that not everyone is as techie as me and the people I surround myself with, so the basics of some of this tech stuff, like SMS, are still necessary.

And even though I have left work, it has followed me home tonight. I have a tab open for TitleSource and will be working on some selection for the opening day collection for the new branch while I play on the internet this evening. Always the multitasker.


Library Day in the Life – Wednesday

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you look at the clock and somehow hours have flown by and you’re not exactly sure how that could be possible? That’s how this morning was. I know I did the usual morning routine of email/Friendfeed/Twitter/etc. And I remember giving my boss my order of books from the Stuttering Foundation (they donate their materials to libraries. yay free books!). Then we had a discussion about getting contacted by authors who want their books in the library, and how… interesting that can be. Conversation spurred me to look at the bunch of emails I had on this very topic and decide what to do with them (yes to some, no to another). I know I did some other stuff… and took a walk outside in the glorious heat and humidity… the details, they escape me.

Went through this month’s First Look cart (selection of forthcoming books) from Baker & Taylor and added ones that sound interesting to my “to be ordered at some point” carts. Publishers love their fall biographies! oy.

After lunch, my afternoon was spent reviewing patron requests. As I mentioned before, I get a lot of patron requests in my areas. Have I mentioned what areas I have? no? oh, well let’s get that out of the way. We divide it up by Dewey Decimal Number:

200’s – Religion

600’s – Official category is Technology, I believe, but it covers a wide variety of areas – health/medicine, transportation, gardening, pets, cooking, sewing, parenting, business, construction…ย  I could go on for pages.

900’s – Geography and History

Biographies – I think this one is self-explanatory ๐Ÿ™‚

(for the library geeks, I will have the 700’s within the next month or so, and probably the 500’s soon also. adult nonfiction will be mine!)

Anyhoo, my process for reviewing patron requests for books isn’t necessarily that different from what I do for books that are up for weeding. Some are easy to figure out – like if it’s a book by a popular author. For the rest, it’s a mix of criteria: checking Worldcat to see what other libraries own it, reading reviews (if there are any), seeing what else we have on that subject, cost, how much use I think it will get with the majority of our patrons. Then once I have decided I am going to purchase something, I have to figure out how many copies to order and (for now, at least) what branch(es) they will start at. Once I’ve done that, I send the orders off to our wonderful Acquisitions department, who gets everything ordered and the books magically appear here later.

Time for some email and web stuff before I leave for the day. Now I am heading off into the heat to yoga class. which may end up being a bikram yoga class tonight. O_o


Library Day in the Life – Tuesday

My Tuesday began much like my Monday: checking email, Friendfeed, Twitter, and the like. Watched the video from the Colbert Report on libraries that I missed last night. giggled. re-watched Shatner reading the Palin speech. giggled more.

Tackled the in-basket for a while. took care of all the interoffice mail, sorted the never-ending stack of review journals and publisher catalogs, sent some other journals on their way.

Took a break to do my morning laps around the building. needed to thaw out anyway.

Made final decision on Writer’s Market. Took local history book from a branch to tech svc so it can be cataloged as reference (only copy left, can’t find anymore, as is usual for local history). More email.

Tackled more 900’s weeds until lunchtime. lots more stuff going bye-bye. set aside the book from 1965 as I’m not ready to part with it yet. Also interrupted with emails – book suggestions and request from author who wants more of her books in our libraries. <snark>so give us copies, if you want every branch to have them. we don’t have an endless supply of money</snark>

After a quick check of the email, I was still feeling the weeding groove, so I figured I should take advantage and loaded up another cart (only 8 boxes to go now!), which took most of the rest of the afternoon.

Spent the last hour doing email, some cart maintenance in TitleSource 3, and a bit of work in ILLiad. All of our patron requests go through our ILLiad interlibrary loan module, and currently, all materials requested that are 4 years old or newer are sent to collection development to see if we want to order them rather than ILL. One of my duties is to route the requests from our selectors that we have decided not to purchase so that they are either cancelled or moved along in the ILL process, depending on the status of the material. We do take patron requests pretty seriously here, but don’t order everything. It’s really interesting to see what people request, that is for sure. I have LOTS of patron requests in my areas. LOTS.

So today wasn’t very interesting – sorry about that! Hopefully I won’t continue to be quite so boring the rest of the week. ๐Ÿ™‚