A Day in the life of a (trainee) librarian

In the run up to National Libraries Day on Feb 4th people who work in libraries are tweeting and blogging about what they do in their jobs. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the varied roles that all come under the umbrella ‘librarian’: from people encouraging reading and discovery in schools, to people wrestling to make databases talk to each other so that journal articles are accessible in universities, with strategic planning, teaching, conferences, research and of course cataloguing, book buying and lending all thrown in. And lots more things I’ve missed.

My life is so fragmented at the moment that I’d considered doing a ‘week in the life’ blog, just so that I could look back in a few years and remember what the time was like. #libday8 (the twitter hashtag for the day) seemed a good excuse to actually do it.

Monday 30th Jan

On Mondays I get up early to take my son swimming at 5.30am. I’ve used the time productively today to read a text book on Systems Analysis and database design ready for a group assignment we have to do for the Management module of my Library and Information Management MA. I get the theory at a basic level, but as the book moves into areas of ‘normalisation’ I know I’m not really taking it in.

Home from swimming just in time to wave my husband off to work. Dishwasher on, quick breakfast, add a few more layers of clothes and I’m on my bike to cycle to Warrington library. I do casual work at the library, which fits in with my course (but I can’t wait to get regular hours again).

I’ve already had to turn down 2 sets of extra hours today because of uni, guess it’s flu season! I regularly work on Monday mornings as I lead the Rhymetime, but first I spend half an hour with colleagues putting the shelves in order. Today we’re in the Science Fiction section. Then parents and carers start to arrive so I collect my things and head to the Children’s Section. A new mum has come along today so I explain how the session works and how to get the most out of it for her and her baby. Nine toddlers and babies today, mostly regulars and it’s lovely to see children develop and change as they get older. We sing rhymes with hand movements, pick toys to sing rhymes about, play with the parachute and then get out the instruments all in half an hour. I hand out stickers and talk to a couple of parents, then I’m called to the counter as it’s busy.

Most of our check-outs and returns are done at RFID machines by borrowers themselves. At the counter we book people onto computers, deal with phone renewals and queries, join new members and answer any queries and questions. Today was great as I helped a lady who had come in looking for information on highwaymen for her grandson by finding a poem she had remembered from her childhood, as well as a book on Dick Turpin by Terry Deary. I also found a copy of the Publishers Yearbook for a budding author to borrow (had to order that from one of the branches).

At 11am I finish at the library and set off to catch the train to uni, via the Post Office to send an ebay parcel.

In Manchester I meet up with David and Mark to discuss our group management project which is based around Data Flow Diagrams and Relational Database. It’s all new to all of us, but over lunch we get most of the basics sorted. My part is to write a 1500 essay about applying soft and hard system methodologies to the problem we’ve been set. No stress there then.

Then it’s time for lectures, a management one about relational databases and then a change of room, but not lecturer for Designing Online Learning where we’re covering assessment this week. The lecture was OK though as the lecturer brought biscuits!

The lecture finished a bit early so I managed to catch an earlier train than usual. Another cold cycle and I’m home. Husband and youngest come home briefly before they’re off to football so I use the time on my own in the house to draft my letter of application for a job at Manchester Cathedral.

My peace is interrupted as Mum brings the older two children home from their piano lessons. Mum is wonderful and provides lots of childcare for me as well as teaching all three children piano. Paul gets back from football and we finally get out tea!

After tea I hoped to do some Codeacademy, but my bike is making strange noises so Paul oils and generally fiddles with it until it stops making odd noises! Finally I decide to get the job application all finished and sent off, so I e-mail my tutor to check she’ll be my referee, get a super fast response and I get the application e-mailed to the Cathedral. After my early start I decide to call it a day then and head for bed.

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