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Library student Day in the Life: Day Four

So, here comes the fourth instalment of the Hack Library School project. In case you haven’t read any other posts/information about it, it’s all about getting a snapshot into life as a Library Student – I’m studying for my MA LIS at UCL. It’s now Thursday, so here’s what’s happened in my life today.

I was working again today – I work Wednesdays and Thursdays every week in my part-time job at an academic library. I was working 10-6 today, which is nicer because I get a longer lie-in in the morning, but is annoying because I have to work later than everyone else in the office! I’m very lucky though, as my job is really flexible, and I can basically work whenever I want to, as long as I do my fifteen hours a week and it doesn’t clash with the other assistants.

My day started off badly today – I attempted to get an earlier train than usual so that I could go to Waterstones before work (which is handily nearby) and buy a Mother’s Day present, but the train was full, as was the next one, and the one after that was twenty minutes late. Grr. I finally arrived at work fifteen minutes late and with no present. Not happy. I started the day as usual with emails, then moved on to the reading list that I’d started yesterday. I think I mentioned that it was largely not in English, so it wasn’t the easiest of tasks as it required a lot of cross-checking. I continued with the list until lunchtime, with a few breaks for Twitter and chat with my colleagues. As a side note, I was never really that interested in Twitter before – I’ve had an account for about a year but have only really started using it a lot in the last few months. I mainly just follow library-related people and I’m finding it a really good tool for maintaining current awareness as well as making some new contacts in the business, so I’d recommend getting into it if you’re not already (and follow me, of course!).

late! Time a-ticking as I get to work late

After lunch (leftover takeaway curry – yum!) I decided that doing any more of the reading list would drive me crazy and so I decided to file some Law looseleaf instead. As I think I’ve said before, my manager is brilliant and is totally happy to let me decide when to do things, as long as there’s no time constraint on them. To those of you who have experience in looseleaf, it may not seem as if it’s that much more interesting than checking a reading list, but I actually quite enjoy it. It’s not fascinating work, but there’s something satisfying about having a job well done at the end of it. Today it was a mammoth task, so it took up a good few of hours of my time. I then did a bit more of the reading list before I went home. One of the (often good) things about working part-time is that if I don’t complete a task then I just email it to my manager, and it often gets passed on to one of the other assistants at the start of next week. This week I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t have to see that one again! In case you’re wondering why I haven’t finished it yet, that’s because it’s fifteen pages of pure text, with no spaces – that’s a lot of books! Not my record though – I had one in January that was thirty-seven pages!

After work, I finally managed to get to Waterstones where I spent a happy half hour wandering around (I’m a typical librarian – surround me with books and I’m happy), before buying something for my mum and then running for the train. Once I got home I cooked dinner, had a catch up with a friend and then wrote and uploaded my part of the groupwork for my Management module (which was started in class – you can see Tuesday’s blog for more detail). And that’s it! I’m going to watch TV now and relax for a bit.

I’ve also realised that I completely forgot to take any photos after the first one, so I apologise for the somewhat text-heavy format today.


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March 7, 2013 · 9:31 pm

Library Student Day in the Life: Day Three

Welcome to todays chapter of a day in my life! This is my third day of blogging for the Hack Library Student Day in the Life project, sharing what my life is like as a library student.

Today is all about my working life. I work part-time in an academic library when I’m not studying, doing 15 hours a week. This is a bit more than I would ideally like as it means I don’t have much spare time, but I need the money to be able to fund full-time study. I started work at 9am this morning, and given that I didn’t get much sleep last night I wasn’t feeling very happy about it! My job is working within a subject team, to support the Subject Librarians in any jobs that need doing. Something I enjoy about the job is that it can have a variety of tasks, but on the other hand it is often very repetitive which can be a little boring at times.

This morning I started my day by catching up on emails (you tend to have a fairly full inbox when you only work two days a week) and then by completing the weeding task I had started last week. The relevant Subject Librarian had given us a list of periodicals that needed weeding and sending to Store, so I’ve been taking them off the shelves, measuring them (so Store know how much shelf space they’ll take up), documenting and boxing them up ready to go. It doesn’t sound very interesting, but I actually find it strangely satisfying.

Boxes My desk, surrounded by boxes after the morning’s work!

I spent a large proportion of my day doing that for various subjects. It’s quite physical at times, as it requires lifting heavy volumes and then pushing a huge trolley full of them back to my office (which naturally was the opposite end of the building). On the plus side, I now know where to find the German Periodicals! I’ve only been in my job for three months, and the library is a bit of a rabbit warren – I still don’t know where lots of things are!

empty cabinet One of the rather empty cabinets after I’d had a go at it!

After the periodical weeding I had lunch (soup again), then started on a very long reading list. This basically just involved checking the list against our catalogue to see whether we already have them, or whether we need to buy them (budget allowing, obviously). It’s a fairly easy task (although sometimes that catalogue seems to fight you all the way), although todays list had quite a lot of books not in English which made it somewhat more challenging! At 3.30pm I went for tea with some colleagues, and then after that continued with the reading list until I left at 5pm, to catch my train by the skin of my teeth. Then I rushed home so that I could have a quick dinner before my friend came to pick me up – I went to the cinema again. I hate to miss the opportunity of an Orange Wednesday!

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March 6, 2013 · 9:21 pm

Library student Day in the Life: Day One

Ok, so the point of this project is to share a typical day as a library student so that anyone who’s interested will have an idea of what it entails as part of the Hack Library School project. I’ll be sharing all of this week as my days all tend to be different. In case you haven’t read anything in my blog before, I’ll just fill you in on the basic details. I’m a full time student at UCL, doing the MA LIS. I also have a part-time (15 hours a week) job in an academic library.

My day today has consisted of going in to Uni for 10am for a lecture in my Information Sources and Retrieval module. This week it was all about medical information sources, which is completely new to me. Still, it was reassuring to realise that actually a lot of the ways to search for sources are the same, so you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in the field itself. I finished at 12pm (we have a practical until 1pm but I couldn’t make that) and went to see if I could talk to one of my lecturers about my dissertation. Unfortunately that was a no-go, so I’ve emailed instead to try to set up an appointment. We have to submit our dissertation proposal in less than two weeks and I’m not really sure what I want to do so I’m starting to stress out about it. After the failed attempt at a meeting, I went and picked up some returned coursework so that I could see the feedback, and also picked up a past dissertation which I’d requested from the departmental office. I’d like to look at one just to get an idea of what I’m aiming for. I have, of course, already completed a dissertation for my BA, but that was nearly four years ago now so I’m a little rusty! Following along this train of thought, I then went to the library to request a book from the off-site storage which I think I’ll want for my dissertation.

Having finished all these errands, I got the train home, had a small lunch of soup at about 2pm (I’m trying out the intermittent fasting diet and today is one of my fasting days) and have then written a blog post on my work experience. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for ages but haven’t managed to squeeze it in until today – committing to writing this blog has given me the motivation that I needed! After this I’ve finished various things around the house which I didn’t do yesterday because I was hungover – washing, sorting out my post, filing my uni work in the correct folder by date…things like that. After that I did some more research for my dissertation, starting looking into an essay I have to write for Manuscript Studies, began reading the dissertation and then did some research into buying my brother a 30th birthday present. After all of that I relaxed for a bit watching TV and then I’ve written this blog. That’s my day!

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March 4, 2013 · 6:23 pm