The Bulleted Library Technician

July 16, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Library Technician: Wednesday

I arrived 10 am today, later than I intended, but still early compared to my usual 11 am schedule (I’m trying to come in early to beat the heat on the long walk from the parking lot.) I’m a “Library Technician II” at UNLV‘s Lied Library. I work in Media & Computer Services (formerly the two departments of “Media Resources” and “Information Commons” — I was hired into the latter when it was brand-new.)

Almost every day the first thing I do is chat with Alexis, my cubicle-mate, for a few minutes. Today we exchanged a few stories about funny or annoying patrons we encountered earlier this week, comparing them to some from the past. We both started here over 8 years ago (she in Media, me in InfoCommons — but the merger has been great for us.)

Then I prepped for my 11 am meeting with our department head, Tom Ipri (Tombrarian.) This actually included more talking with Alexis (she’s a great sounding-board for ideas, and some of the topics actually concern her job as well.) Tom (and I) wrote a proposal to move our Multimedia Design Studio (MMDS) to a larger space nearby which was recently vacated when another department consolidated its operations. I pulled up an Excel spreadsheet I made several months ago, to compare the features, hours, staffing, names, etc of similar facilities at other university libraries.

I met with Tom, and we decided to take a peek at the proposed new space. It’s HUGE! It would improve our services so much, enabling us to serve more users at once, and to teach classes. We already have a couple of professors who are sending their entire class over here in onesies and twosies — it would be great to get them all at once and teach them the basics they need to know for their project.

current Studio has space for 6 people at 3 computers

current Studio has space for 6 people at 3 computers

Our current space is far too small and too hot for groups of people –we tried it in April, and it was miserable! (Okay, not truly miserable, but very crowded & sweaty, and certainly not the shining success we hoped our first official instruction session would be.)

While we were in the proposed new space, our Director of User Services, Wendy Starkweather, dropped in. She commented on the excitement in my face. Yes, I guess I am really happy about this possibility. The Multimedia Design Studio is my primary job responsibility, and I really want to see it grow and develop. Eventually I will finish my MLS and move on, so it would be nice to leave that as a legacy, so to speak… It was started by Diane VanderPol, now Director of the Library at Westminster College, and continued by Jennifer Church-Duran, now Assistant Dean for User Services for the Libraries at the University of Kansas. They both provided great vision and leadership. But for sheer number of hours spent helping patrons — well, I guess I win on that count. 🙂

After finishing up the meeting with Tom & Wendy, I took Alexis into the space. She’s our point person on the Disability Resource Room (DRR) [a.k.a. the Assistive Technologies Room], as well as a great person with multimedia issues. We measured the doorways to see if we could combine the MMDS and DRR into the new space, but alas, it would require expensive rennovations to accomodate the automatic door opener and be wide enough for wheelchairs. So the DRR will stay where it is.

A break for lunch at my desk, and homework. I’m attending the University of North Texas School of Library & Information Sciences (SLIS). One of the assignments in my current class is about “user-centered spaces” which is a topic I’ve been researching off and on for quite some time. I’ll be blogging about it later. Today I just did some searching for info, while munching a couple of sticky granola bars I found in my desk. I forgot to pack a lunch again, and it’s far too hot to venture outdoors! Although I saw out my tiny window, we were actually having some “weather” today — it was not the blazing hot blue sky of a typical day around here, we had clouds, complete with lighting & thunder & some wetness!

Then off to a “Hot Topics” meeting. This is a highlight of nearly every month for me. Any library staff member (faculty, pro staff, or classified staff) can participate as a speaker, listener, or committee chair. Today was the annual brainstorming session for the upcoming year. We looked briefly at what topics were suggested in the past 2 years, which ones were covered already, then we compiled a list of topics for next year. Lots of great ideas, as always. Our Hot Topics leaders have presented (or brought in guest speakers to present) a lot of great info in the past, and it looks like 2007-2008 will be great also.

Two friends from the Architecture Studies Library on the other side of campus were here for the Hot Topics meeting. They are also students in the UNT SLIS Nevada Cohort (there are actually 6 of us students working in the UNLV Libraries!) They heard about our proposal for the Multimedia Design Studio and wondered what it’s all about, so I gave them a tour of our current MMDS space and some adjacent media preview rooms.  See my flick set “Media Lab” for pics of our current MMDS space.

I ran into our Director of User Services again, she was asking about a leak. Apparently that rain we had earlier found a way inside the building! We don’t get that kind of excitement around here often, since this building is still fairly new and pretty sturdy.

Then I served 1 hour on the Computer Help Desk (part of our first floor Information Commons area.) Moved several print jobs for a student who’s payment card didn’t want to work on 2nd floor, but it works okay on 1st floor. Moved several more print jobs for a student who lost his card (actually did an over-ride and gave it all to him free.) Fielded a couple phone calls from a mother who bought her daughter (due to enter UNLV next semester) a new laptop and wanted to know about Internet connections. Chatted with the librarian on the “Research & Information” (reference) side of our shared service counter. One of our frequent MMDS patrons walked by the desk, smiled, and promised “no help today” (meaning he didn’t need me to assist with his video editing project.)  See my flickr set “InfoCommons & Computer Help Desk” for lots of pics of what life is like around here.  🙂

Back to my cubicle to slog through some email. And in the “American Libraries Direct” email I found the link to the “A Day in the Life of a Library” project. And I decided to join. So now you know it all.

Tomorrow I promise to explain less backstory and write more about the day. 🙂

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