Library School Day in the Life 2013: Tuesday – Friday

I am documenting my life for Hack Library School’s Library Student Day in the Life. For other great bloggers who are participating, check here.

After I posted last Monday, I realized that midterms was absolutely the wrong time to try to blog every day! As much as I love sharing pieces of my life — especially for something as cool as the Hack Library School “Day in the Life” — it’s just too much pressure during a stressful time at work. Rather than adding even more to my plate with daily posts, I thought I would post what my days looked like as a whole. Without further ado…

Tuesday: 

Tuesdays are “school days” for me — I scheduled all my courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester so that I would have more time for my internships. My first course of the day, Cataloging, is at the absurd 8am hour. If I didn’t love the class so much I might be inclined to resent the sleep invasion.

The course covers the fundamentals of cataloging books and other printed materials. Of course this is much more difficult than it sounds. Have you ever seen a MARC cataloging record?

Sample MARC record

Not as simple, right?

After my cataloging class, I rushed to the library to get in some last-minute studying for a midterm. Management for Information Professionals is a required course for my masters but it’s also one of the least “library science” related. A lot of what we’re learning is basic management theory (administrative model, scientific model, etc) rather than putting all of it in a library setting. The midterm went well…I think.

Wednesday:

I spend Wednesday mornings interning at Duke University Press. For more about my job there check out my previous “day in the life” post here. I love working at DUP because I get to work with many editorial assistants. Since each editor’s list is so different, I sometimes feel like I have three different jobs! The tasks are never the same so the learning curve can be a little steep — at least it’s never boring!

Later in the day I head over to my internship at the public library. Wednesdays are usually programming nights so I either help out with the events or cover the desk while someone else works them. This Wednesday there weren’t any programs, so I got to answer reference questions and help people find books. I never thought I would end up in a public library but this internship has shown me how much fun it can be. For more on why I love working at a public library check out this post.

Thursday

Much like Tuesday, I start my day in Cataloging. With the weight of the midterm no longer hanging over our heads we work on serials. Just when we thought we’d gotten our footing, these pulled the rug right out from underneath us! Serials are cataloged in a very different way from books, especially because we are learning to catalog them using a different (older) set of rules. Though I took furious notes during class, I’m fairly sure the material will take a few more days to sink in.

My afternoon class is an introduction to databases. I’ll be honest — I signed up for this class because it fit into my schedule well. I had never considered doing a library job that required me to learn the inner workings of a database, nor had I ever thought I would understand the structure if I tried! Color me surprised. This is by far my favorite class. Perhaps it’s because I get to use a different part of my brain or maybe because it’s set up more like an undergraduate class — who knows the reason, I just know that it rocks my socks! I can’t imagine doing a library job without understanding databases; they now seem so integral.

Friday

Another day, another shift at Duke University Press. Fridays are a change of pace at the press because I usually get to work on manuscript descriptions. This means that I get to read the manuscript (or at least the introduction and first chapter) and write a one-page description of the author’s argument and main points. Sometimes I feel completely out of my depth but more often than not one of my Kenyon courses touched on the topic at hand — see, a liberal arts education IS useful! To be honest, without the range of courses I took at Kenyon I would be up a creek. One week I could be working on a political book about a former president, the next week it might be about Afghanistan during the turn of the century!

Liberal Arts

After working at the Press, I head off to the library for another closing shift. I usually spend an hour working on readers advisory lists or programming before hopping on the desk to answer patron questions. Since the library closes at 6pm on Fridays there’s usually a flurry of activity in the DVD section; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Do you guys have any comedies?” You’re asking the wrong librarian, this girl prefers documentaries or period pieces!

So there’s my typical week in a nutshell. I hope it maybe convinced you that library science isn’t all shelving books and shushing anymore!

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