Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries

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A day in the life …

Wow, today is a completely crazy day to do a Day-in-the-life post. It’s the end of July, and that means three important things:

  1. My new Unit Head has been here long enough to settle in
  2. Most folks are recovered from ALA
  3. The start of semester is suddenly looming large in folks’ heads.

This morning, my day looked like 4 meetings and a video interview with the student paper about @askundergrad. In the end, it was only 3 meetings, and no interview. And I feel (wrongly) like I got very little done, but let me fill you in on the details.

I generally get to work between 9:00 and 9:30, and today was here around 9:00. I checked voicemail while booting up the computer, one vendor call I will have to vet through a friend working on the project the vendor was asking me about. Once the computer was up, I spent about 20 minutes checking in with my emails, twitter, and FriendFeed. I discovered my 10:30 meeting was canceled, and decided to check out some of the Table of Content alerts I get. By 9:45, I have 22 tabs open on my browser. Gmail, FriendFeed, and 5 articles from the TOC alerts, the rest are articles Twitter or FriendFeed tipped me to.

Before submitting more ILL requests for articles from Library review, I sent an email query to our LIS librarian wondering why we don’t have it. The answer was pretty stunning — the journal costs over $10K a year. I submitted my ILL requests.

I checked out an article on twitter in libraries, saw that my library’s twitter stream was mentioned, and misrepresented. Queried the twitterati, and decided to follow up with a letter to the author (or the publisher?); I later worked out (after discussing with a colleague) that the article was written 8 or 10 months ago, and decided not to bother correcting it. And also, that I really need to get my article on the pedagogy, libraries, and Twitter written!

I spent a few minutes catching up with a colleague back from vacation, and we discussed some fun search topics for GA training and/or student sessions for fall

Reality definitely derailed my plan to spend 2 hours writing this morning, and so by 11:00 I was prepping for the three back to back meetings of the afternoon. These are about prioritizing the suggestions gathered by my new Head from the Undergrad faculty & staff for implementation; developing an overall signage strategy, tone, and design; and re-imagining our annual Homecoming week research rally (which will also probably include discussion of our Quad Day plans – the day before classes start. They used to start midweek, but now on Monday, which makes Quad Day a Sunday, which makes it more difficult).

In the process of searching email for the (properly filed) list of suggestions, for my 2:00 meeting, I found the details I need for moving some current books from the Main Stacks to the Undergrad. We have a non-duplication policy, and care deeply about having the right books in this particular library for this audience, so moving current, Undergraduate-appropriate titles on AIDS and HIV from the Stacks to Undergrad would help our students. I spent about 25 minutes removing excess formatting from the WorldCat list of titles (from 54 pages to 11– being an environmentalist sometimes feels like an enormous time cost burden!)

By 11:45, I was sick of my desk, took a long walk to a colleague’s office (outside, even!!) to pay her for the local blueberries she picked up for me at the farmer’s market when I was out of town this weekend. I wish I’d thought to ask for heirloom tomatoes  😦

Got back to my desk, saw a tweet about Star Trek playing at the local opera house this week, invited a few friends, realized that I now have plans for every single night this week, and promptly got exhausted, then removed grocery shopping from my to-do list

Around noon I followed up with another colleague on determining if any of the presentation mice owned by Library IT can click links, or if they are all ppt mice. Turns out they are all PowerPoint mice, and so I began the process of asking IT to buy some that I can use in teaching. Budget details haven’t percolated far enough down yet for IT to be able to let me know, but my request is in the queue.

My phone rang, I answered, it was a vendor call. Created a GMail folder for the emailed vendor stuff. Sigh. I asked for it, specifically, at ALA, but now it feels like junk mail again (some day I’ll get to refurbish my Learning Commons with appropriately sized tables, and create the sort of cool seating vignettes that i want, and I spent time at ALA getting furniture vendors to start sending me catalogs)

Ate a quick lunch at my desk at around 1:00. This was my third meal on this particular restaurant leftover. It was tasty, I’m glad it’s all gone now! I saw my mailbox had a huge package in it, turns out it was a catalog, more vendor mail, which I had indeed asked for. Make note to create physical file space for vendor mail I need to keep

Read a couple news articles about ebook readers (the Apple tablet looks awfully pretty, but I am not enthused that it is being reported to run iPhone as its OS) and make a mental note to move the ebook reader pilot project to the next step, which leads almost automatically to guilt about the dropped state of the Career Services Support working group I’m chairing.

My new boss had asked me for a prioritized wish list, so I spent some time with my Learning Commons wishlist. It’s a pretty unspecific list at present, and I am trying to turn it into a concrete, prioritized, actionable list of items. Like, instead of “materials to display art” I now have three items. They still need a lot more detail and definition, but it’s a start. You wouldn’t believe how many different kinds of challenges have arisen over my desire to display student art work. Not people challenges – everyone likes the idea- but around how to hang it, and how to protect it, and I’m currently leaning towards digital displays, but will need to follow up with several stakeholders, and that will almost certainly lead to more questions than answers. Maybe by Spring we’ll have art?

Finally, 2:00, and the suggestions meeting. When the new Head started, she met with everyone in the Undergrad, and this group was formed to work on implementing the ideas that she pulled out of all of those meetings. We’ve added a few, primarily about facilitating the ongoing sharing of ideas. Hopefully I’ll have some time tomorrow to write up the notes and pull out which we are each responsible for.

My 3:00 meeting was about signs (and also part of having a new sherrif in town), and that went so much better than I had expected! I’m not sure we’ve got a whole lot of action items yet, but we have agreement in principle about style and tone and attitude, and a shared will to change some of the policies that we feel aren’t necessary. Excellent, all around.

My 4:00 meeting was about programming for Research Rally, our Homecoming Week event, which is widely advertised, but could be much more exciting and muscular. My proposal went over well, and I’m really excited about. I’m not sure we can pull it off as I imagine it — a day long series of 15-50 minutes workshops — since it will involve convincing 5-7 more folks to play along and teach a session or two. But it will be great.

This colleague and I agreed to hold off on a proposal I just dropped the timeline on, and we chatted a bit about what we’re going to do for Quad Day, which is held the day before classes start. Classes now start on Monday, so Quad Day is Sunday, and the library isn’t usually open. We’ve decided to be open, and now we have to work out what we should expect.

When I’m done with you all, I will write up the First Day FAQ we brainstormed for Quad Day, I will work my way through the 15 open FireFox tabs, the 7 Word docs, and check my email before heading out the door to meet a friend for pool, beer, and fries, not neccesarily in that order. Tomorrow I plan on wwriting a proposal for an article, meeting a colleague for lunch, taking 90 minutes for a doctor’s appointment, and then fleshing out the suggestions committee’s suggestions. I hope I will also get my Wishlist fleshed out with brands and dollars, but I suspect that’s wishful thinking. Tomorrow will be capped off by an evening of trivia and cocktails, and if we do well, karaoke. Wednesday is blissfully unscheduled (except for lunch) — we’ll see what that brings!

Are you exhausted? I’m definitely ready to start my end-of-day processes!