Library Day in the Life Project, Day 0

It’s just about time for Library Day in the Life round 8, which will be my first opportunity to participate! The idea is that library folks around the world, working in various different facets of the library field (staff, systems librarians, instruction librarians, catalogers, etc. at all types of libraries) will share some of the minutia of their daily work. It gives us an opportunity to see what our colleagues in different settings do all day, and gives students considering or in library school a chance to see what we really do. More information about the project and a list of participants in this round can be found over here.

Round 8 officially runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, but I’m getting a jump on it because my work week normally begins on Sunday (today). Plus, this week is going to be a busy one!

First off, I suppose I should explain what my job generally entails… I am the Instructional Services Outreach Librarian at an academic library. The instructional services part of my position means that I teach a section of our 2 credit hour information literacy course, LIBR1101, along with teaching one-shots as requested. The outreach part means that I come up with or borrow ideas for ways to get students into the library… I think that also includes outreach to faculty, to let them know what we offer to their classes and their students, but I’m still fairly new, so I haven’t gotten to that part yet! I also serve as a liaison to a couple of departments on campus.

I teach LIBR1101 on Mondays and Wednesdays, which means that I spend a good chunk of Sunday at least thinking about my planning for that week. I just started this position in September, after the fall semester was underway, so this is the first time I’m teaching this course. I usually think about planning and get caught up on discussion board posts on Sunday… And then scrap all of that planning and put something else together before class on Monday. It helps that my class is at 3pm, so I have time to do that if I don’t have other appointments that day, though it puts me behind on other things.

This week, however, I’ve got other plans for Monday. I am the liaison to the anthropology department, and they are hiring for two positions this year. So I’ll be attending a candidate presentation Monday morning. I’m also working on organizing regular live music performances in the library on Friday nights — this Friday will be our first one, so I need to meet with the band to make sure we’re clear on what equipment I need to get and what they will be bringing. Of course, the candidate talk will only take about an hour, and meeting with the band should take less than half an hour, but it chunks up my day enough that once I factor in talking to colleagues and catching up on email, I don’t want to rely on being able to work on any planning.

Sadly enough, this will be our fourth week of the semester, and it will be the first time I will be getting the kids into a library database. In the first week, we talked a bit about an overview of the course and then did some on evaluating information. In week 2, I lost a day to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, then covered plagiarism on Wednesday. In week 3, we went over some lingering issues from plagiarism, then talked about types of information sources, scholarly vs. popular sources, and evaluating information again.

For the discussion board posts in week 3 (first post due Wed. 11:59pm, response to someone else due tonight by 11:59pm), they read an article from BoingBoing about peer review. So hopefully it will be more meaningful to them when I have them go into an actual database!

Right now, I think I will start by talking about what a database is. In Georgia, we have a set-up called Galileo, or GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online, from the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. It’s a package that contains a bunch of databases, but a lot of students think that it is a database itself. So I need to try to pick that apart for them. Then I’ll walk them through getting into a general database.

From there, I haven’t decided what to do. We have an exercise that we use in one-shots, which would fit well here — pull up a peer-reviewed article and a magazine article, and compare them to illustrate the difference between scholarly & popular. On the other hand, it might be more useful to cover keywords & Boolean searching, and come up with an exercise to get them to play around with the filtering options that Ebsco offers. It will probably depend on whether I can come up with a good exercise to guide them through playing with the filtering options before tomorrow.

And I need to grade a stack of quizzes. Yippee!

Other things on my agenda for this week include:

  • Empty Bowls glazing workshop on Tuesday
  • The first installment of Friday Night Live @ the library
  • Contact people to recruit more musicians for Friday nights
  • Work on my self evaluation, due by Friday — the first stage in the annual performance review process here
  • Attend a lunch for new faculty members with the University President
  • Attend another candidate presentation in anthropology (in addition to the one mentioned above)
  • Do a one-shot for an anthropology class
  • Work on a publication about some events at the library

When I list it all out like that, it doesn’t sound like that much… Huh. Wait till this week is over, and we’ll see how much I’ve forgotten today!