Library (Student) Day in the Life: Monday

Day 1 of Library (Student) Day in the Life. It’s my first time doing this, ever. 

8:15am – Wake up to a blaring alarm. I’m shocked that I haven’t woken up sooner–usually Francine the diva cat scratches my bedskirt to get fed at about 6am. Lately the LSB and I have been trying new means to get her to stop, including wheeling out the vacuum cleaner (which she is deathly afraid of) and placing it ominously at the foot of our bed upon the first scratch attempt. Apparently it’s working, because she didn’t even try scratching today!

8:59am – I catch the bus heading off to Wells Library, home of the School of Library and Information Science and 4 out of 5 of my jobs. Someone has a coughing fit right above my head. I try to avert my face to the extent possible. Oh, the joys of public transportation.

9:30am – Time for class: Information Architecture. We haven’t had class in two weeks due to MLK, Jr. Day, and my group of three presents briefly on what information architecture is, synthesizing our readings from week 2 for the class. The best part is getting the chance to discuss of Big IA vs. Little IA.

After our presentation, our professor goes through a lecture and I eat half my pb&j because I am uncharacteristically ravenous at 10am–normally I have coffee and feel no hunger, but alas, no coffee this morning as I was running late. I pay halfhearted attention to the next group’s presentation… something about information in context? Mostly I’m distracted by the pouring rain outside–raindrops are plinking incessantly on already-formed puddles. I still can’t believe that it rains in Indiana in January, unthinkable in Wisconsin. I feel acutely my morning’s lack of coffee, but the class is excellent. Truly useful and from what I can tell, adored by all who take it. For me, it’s an MIS requirement but I enjoy it, distracted or not.

12:15pm – Class ends. I meander over to the SLIS hallway where the offices for the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center are and discuss something briefly with my supervisor. Then I head up, up, up, to the fifth floor of the West Tower of Wells, running into library folks along the way. I make it all the way to the Digital Library Program and locate my very beige cubicle in a sea of other beige cubicles. Here, I put on my Avalon Media System Project Assistant hat. I manage marketing and communications for Avalon, an open-source software project funded by an IMLS grant. The work involves a lot of writing and project management that I never got to do in the context of libraries or digital projects before. I’ve also gotten to know a lot more about how agile software development works.

We just launched our new website last week after months of work, so today I’m figuring out what I need to focus on on a weekly basis to grow the Avalon community. I end up making a list of marketing priorities, including our blog, other blogs/websites we can monitor and contribute to, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, relevant listservs, etc. I begin researching blogs and websites related to library technology that we may want to target.

1:30pm – I head to the Wells Lobby and buy a small coffee and a maple doughnut. The doughnut is magical and goes far too soon. The coffee does its job and wakes me up.

3:06pm – I retweet this; thanks @ALA_TechSource! (For most people tweeting wouldn’t be noteworthy, but I just got a smartphone and I’m trying to set the habit of tweeting. Baby steps.)


4:10pm – I leave work early and catch the westward-bound bus–I have errands to run! I’m lucky to have a flexible schedule for Avalon; I’m able to make up the hours later in the week. First, I go to the Poplars Building, the new home of the Bursar’s Office, and deposit a scholarship check. Then I walk to the nearby Monroe County Public Library to drop off almost-overdue books. I take a quick swing around and pick up a few new ones: a volume of Louise Gluck poetry, some fiction, and a book about crewelwork.

5:15pm – I catch the bus and return to Wells. It’s incredibly challenging not to just sail on home. I often try to tell myself I will get work done from home, but that just isn’t the case. Resigned to a few hours’ more work, I find a place in the Information Commons and assess the damage done to my inbox. Mondays always bring a flood of emails, and while I actually enjoy managing my inbox, sometimes it’s like whoa when I can’t do all the managing I need to do until the evening. I archive away. Some emails I dealt with:

  • Message from the listserv for the Catapult Center for Digital Humanities and Computational Analysis. I take the bait and sign up for a text analysis tools workshop even though it slices into my workday on Friday.
  • I hear from the SAA-SC advisor that registration forms for the conference we are organizing started coming in. I make arrangements with our Treasurer & VP so she can pick these up and deposit the checks.
  • Over the weekend I followed up with the LIS programs who hadn’t yet responded to inquiries about participating in the Hiring Librarians/Hack Library School Career Center series. Two got back to me! I respond to their questions.
  • Email string about how I want to start a Library Student Day in the Life project through HLS. Co-Managing Editor is (rightfully) concerned about the many projects we are already engaged in–but I think it’s quite doable. And valuable. We’ll see.
  • I’ve signed up for not one but two Coursera MOOCs, and I hear from them since the classes are starting this week. I archive the emails because I don’t know if I can commit to the classes at this point.
  • Pore over this job listing after it comes up through a listserv and am reminded why I am working so hard. Someday…
  • Learn that the Collins Living Learning Center is seeking course proposals and seriously ponder submitting one.
  • Archive/delete numerous messages from professional organizations and listservs.

I leave my inbox total higher than I’d like at 13 messages. I like to keep it under 5, if that. After my school email, I check the HLS, SAA-SC, and my alternate email addresses.

6:30pm – With my inboxes somewhat tidied up, I head to Wunderlist. I am feeling ancy because I know there are little tasks I need to do, and I can feel the week looming ahead, and my head hurts. I console myself that there’s just a bit more effort, a few more tasks, and then I’ll have a clean slate for tomorrow, my longest day of the week, chock full of classes and work from 8am-9pm. I arrange and rearrange tasks in my various to-do lists and it clarifies the most important tasks for the week, which makes me feel a bit better, though I know that I won’t head home feeling terribly accomplished for the day.

7:15pm – I take the bus home. I anticipate an evening of doing my readings for Systems Analysis and Organizational Informatics, both tomorrow. After that, I’m sure I’ll end up watching the LSB play L.A. Noire on the xbox. In bed by 12:30, if I’m good.

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