#libday8 National Libraries Day

After last night’s excitement Paul decided not to get up and take youngest to early morning swimming so we had a huge lie-in until 8am!  I was working in the town library today, but uncertainty over whether it would snow or not meant a dilemma over how to travel into town.  I opted for the car in the end as it’s easier to park at weekends.

It’s National Libraries Day today and although there were no specific events today in the central library there have been author visits and other things going on all week.  The library did seem quite busy today, especially given the horrible weather, although I didn’t hear anyone say they had come in because of publicity for the day.

Busy on counter all day dealing with lots of different queries, helping people find specific books, advising people about how to use the on-line facilities, helping people scan documents to the computers and joining and re-joining quite a few people.  No particular stand out queries today, but know that I helped a lot of people and that is always a perk of the job.

When I came home at 4pm I had to scrape the hail off the car as it had frozen into a solid sheet and there were icicles over the wheel arches.  At least we have escaped the snow that a lot of the country has, but the roads are still dangerous.

Spent a while trying to download an e-library book to my Blackberry this evening – a new service from Warrington library.  Everything went well and the book downloaded fine, but when I try to view it I just get the white screen of death.  I suspect my Blackberry is the problem.

After tea I realised I hadn’t put together the pew sheets which will have to be copied tomorrow morning before the service.  I was getting them together, but a website I need has crashed.  Looks like another early start tomorrow.


#libday8 5

-7 today when I left the house at 7.30am, but it’s been a beautiful sunny day and the countryside on my train journey to Manchester looked gorgeous in the rosy glow of the sunrise, even through the grimy carriage windows.

Today is my Web Site Design lecture.  I really enjoy this part of my course and spend a disproportionate amount of time on it.  I’ve been creating personal websites for over ten years, but this course has really helped me hone my CSS and HTML skills and given me the courage to attempt Code Academy (which reminds me I haven’t done this weeks lesson).  I have an interim assignement due next week when I have to submit the ‘wireframe’ of my site for a (fictional) conference centre.  I had planned to pretty much wrap it up in lab time after the lecture, but a pesky border on a linked image which refused to go away ended up taking most of my time.  Sorted it in the end, and helped a fellow student too.

My train back to Warrington was a nice warm express, so had an hour to get my lunch before work.  I had an e-mail today to say I haven’t been selected for interview for the Manchester Cathedral job, so treated myself to some new boots to cheer myself up.  In fact treated myself to two pairs as it was ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ in the tail end of the Deichmann sale, and having found one pair I loved, it would have been rude not to.

Back in the library office today to continue data entering.  Then home to collect the car which still isn’t sorted, despite us having spent £250 so far.  They now suspect the alternator, which will be several hundred pounds more.

Paul picked me up from the library and took me to the garage.  He was a bit late though as he has cut his finger slicing carrots with a mandolin.  It is quite a bad cut and when it hadn’t stopped bleeding two hours later I took him to A&E where he was patched up and given a tetanus shot.

This meant I took daughter and friend to their swimming club instead of doing the shopping so we have no bread or milk.  I decided the best course of action was to have my first alcohol of the year.

Don’t forget tomorrow is National Libraries Day and you should all get down to your local library, particularly if your local library is Warrington central as an especially wonderful library assistant will be there (of course all the other assistants are equally lovely too), and we’re all ready to help.  Why not come along and see just how many services we offer?  Family history (free access to Find my Past on all the computers), local history, use the computers, send a fax, read a newspaper or find a book – we don’t just have fiction for adults, children and teenagers, large print and audiobooks but books about business, careers, art, crafts, building, house and home design, science, maths, astronomy, environment, politics, computers, gardening, sport, languages (including language courses on CD and tape), sociology, teaching, economics, history, travel, car manuals, sheet music, film and TV and lots more.  Hope to see you there!

Slowing down (just means I’m always late) libday8 day 4

Back at the station at 7.15am this morning, but only to drop Paul off as I’m not on a train today.  It was -5 degrees at that time so I was quite glad that I wasn’t on my bike today.  The car had to go back to the garage so I drove there and walked on into town to work.  I had to keep reminding myself to slow my walking down, but it’s hard when it’s so flipping cold!  So of course I was a couple of minutes late for work. 

Work today was data entering from a survey the library has been running.  It’s very repetitive work and quite dull, but at least it gives me an insight into how easily people can misunderstand questionnaires, and how the lack of a ‘not applicable’ box can lead to people interpreting  the ‘neither good nor bad’ box as ‘doesn’t affect me’.  Hopefully this will help me if I have to design any questionnaires for my dissertation research.  I certainly recommend data entering from a big survey as pre-research for anyone designing questionnaires!  It is also good to see how positive people are about libraries and how much they value the services they offer. 

A lot of media attention is building towards National Libraries Day on Saturday with a big piece on Channel 4 news tonight and Chris Evans promoting the day on his Radio 2 show. 

I was hoping to pick the car up on my way home, but the garage can’t work out what is causing the funny noise so it’s not ready yet.  I had to catch the bus home, but as I’m walking slowly I was late getting to the bus stop, which meant I was late collecting the children to take to dancing and swimming and therefore I was late picking Paul up from the station.  While youngest swam I went in the gym and did 30mins on the cross trainer (cross training is OK too as it’s low impact), but I can’t get any enthusiasm for it at all.  I’ve iced and stretched my hip lots today and I’ve made a huge effort to go slow.  Hopefully it will bring some improvement.

Lost a bit of umph all round really.  Trying to get up some enthusiasm for doing some uni work, but lying on the couch reading War Horse sounds so much more appealing.


#libday8 Day 3

Once again I start the day on a train, but no bike today as I need to travel to Edge Hill later and deliver a Fairtrade ‘Sale or Return’ stall back to Warrington market so I drove to the station.

Uni this morning was a Research Methods lecture.  They are proving quite useful and we are being pushed to submit our initial research questions and ideas for study.  I have mine all ready to go, just need to get round to writing the e-mail.  Treated myself to a Fairtrade coffee and muffin in the break – a steal at £1.99 in the uni Bistro.

This afternoon should have been Information Futures: a practical session on creating digital libraries followed by Search and Retrieval, but I had a physio appointment so I left at lunchtime.

In Warrington I returned the Fairtrade stall and then dashed to the local fabric shop to buy a pattern for a waistcoat and some fabric for a dance costume, but the shop is rubbish and didn’t stock anything I needed.

Had a lovely drive up to Edge Hill University as, although it’s cold, the sun has been out today.  I go there because they have a student run sports injury clinic and it’s just £5 for a consultation.  Paul lectures at Edge Hill and they’ve sorted out quite a few running injuries for him.  Unfortunately my hip is not behaving at all after my little test run on Sunday it appears I’m back to square one, and I’m not to run for probably 2 – 3 weeks.  This week I’ve even got to slow down my walking and try to avoid as much running/walking impact as possible.  Biking and swimming are OK, but with dashing from station to lectures, most lectures on the third floor and the majority of my time at work being on my feet it won’t be easy.  The tutor physio said I shouldn’t defer from the London Marathon yet, but my gut feeling is that I won’t make the start line this year.  Pretty gutted tonight.

Drove from Edge Hill to take over from my mum on child taxi duty – youngest swims and my daughter has a violin lesson at the same time.  Home, cook tea, daughter to Guides and I lie on the couch feeling sorry for myself.  Now transferring dance videos to the computer and writing up my blog, trying to avoid doing uni work.

I had another paragraph here, but it was a bit controversial and could get me into trouble, so I’ve not published it.  I’m reasonably confident only my Mum and husband read this, but better safe than sorry!

libday8 day 2

A slightly less hectic day to today and up at the more acceptable time of 6.30am. Lunches made, bags packed for the day and I’m off biking to the station. My bike is working much better today, amazing what a bit of oil can do.

Today is my favourite day as I do a work placement at the Royal Northern College of Music library. The possibility of this placement was one of the reasons I chose the MMU course, and I’m loving my time at RNCM.

Today I was shadowing Sarah who has a very varied role. She chases overdue books and music, catalogues audio-visual material, produces all the libraries statistics, timetables the staff on counter and deals with technical system stuff. She likes her role as it is so varied, but she needs to keep her ‘to do’ list up to date.

One of her current roles is starting to timetable final year students to have meetings with a senior member of library staff to discuss requirements for their final recitals. All music is needed twice – once for performers and once for the examiners, which makes it a very busy time for the library who have to source music either by buying copies, or arranging officially sanctioned photocopies if music is in copyright, but out of print. A role that is quite specific to a conservatoire library.

I catalogued a couple of Opera DVDs, reacquainting myself with the keyboard shortcuts for foreign characters which I used to use all the time when I worked for the record label Naxos and prepared contracts for foreign opera singers.

Over coffee we discussed the issue of attitudes to the library and information literacy among music students who see themselves primarily as performers. The library are happy to support me in doing some research in this area which means I finally have a dissertation topic that I’m really happy with.

After lunch I continued with my project of cataloguing journal articles in books of articles about different composers and then adding them to the main book entry.

Train and bike home to be met with reports on the family visit to the dentist and an update on the poorly car (half better now, needs another operation on Thursday). Then Paul and eldest are off to football, while I supervise reading and violin practice with the younger two. Some household tasks, washing and bill paying, including £400 to various schools for various trips and tuition for the children.  Next I send an e-mail out to the mailing list of local teachers who support Fairtrade in their schools telling them about a competition and other events in Warrington for Fairtrade Fortnight.  Normally I write the newsletter and co-ordinate the competition, but I’ve had to take a back seat this year.  Finally I sit down to finish writing my blog about Monday (only a day late). It’s after midnight by the time I get to bed.

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.