Library Day in the Life

24 Jan

Waking up to discover it’s -15° F is not a good start to a week. It didn’t impact my morning routine overmuch, though: coffee still got brewed, eggs scrambled, webcomics read. Taking the dog out was less fun for both of us, though, since it hurt me to breathe and him to walk. But we got by, and Nina and I both seemed able to stumble off to work in a reasonably effective manner. The bus was packed, which reminded me that classes started today; the lost-looking students confirmed it. I hope none of them freeze to death.

Got in, opened my calendar, and got my four to-do reminders for today:

  • Write for 15 minutes. The post you’re reading will cover that.
  • Post to SLA blog. Snooze for four hours. This is a weekly thing for me, and between what I’m writing now and other stuff I need to do today, I’ll probably wait until later in the week. Besides, I just posted there on Friday.
  • RefBlog editor. I get this duty about twice a semester, and when it comes up I’m responsible for 2-3 posts over the course of the week. I’ll try to get them all written up this morning, and schedule them to go live automatically today, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Clean out inbox. I do this three times a week. It never stays done. But it’s the first thing I’ll do today, since I’ve got 141 messages in there, 121 unread. Typical weekend, really.

Today’s meeting-free, which is a rarity. There will be a few later in the week — presentations from the first applicant for the library director gig, the first get-together of the Cornell University Library Archival Repository Policy committee on Thursday, etc. — but it’s damned light compared to the last two weeks and next week. Which means I actually need to use that time to do stuff.


So, I managed to get my inbox down to something manageable (fewer than 20!), and did some email support for a few folks who manage their own series in DigitalCommons@ILR; also followed up on a reference question for a former student. Wrote up two of three questions for the RefBlog, then realized that if I wanted to get to the gym before lunch, I needed to get going. (Those efforts are chronicled elsewhere.) I also managed to answer some questions for the Web & Digital Projects Group’s two student employees, who are awesome.

After lunch, I found myself briefly distracted by the glorious and profane comic alchemy that was the @MayorEmanuel Twitter feed in the aftermath of an appeals court decision that Rahm Emanuel was not actually eligible to run for mayor in Chicago. But I got myself back on track and wrote up that final RefBlog post.

We got new phones today, which is cool; unfortunately, they’re not working yet, and I need to return a call to California.


Phones working, so now I’m waiting for a return call. (Cross-country phone tag is the best kind.)  I’m very much looking forward to said call, though: it could mean a couple more opportunities to go somewhere and tell folks about what we’re doing here at Catherwood, and I love that stuff. Of course, it’s starting to look like I might be taking something like half a dozen library-related trips between now and the end of June, which could get kind of crazy. Luckily, most of them seem like they’ll be reasonably short, and only a couple of them are definite.


Coming in on the end of the day. It’s been much more about writing than about meetings, which was a nice change of pace. Plus, most of the writing I’ve been doing the past few weeks has been for the Digital Projects Assessment of our three soon-to-be-consolidated libraries, but I got what could be the final draft of that out to my fellow Collection Management Team members on Friday. I suppose that’s one more reply I’m waiting to harvest, but for now it’s freed me up to do other things.

Of course, I could argue that today was just a day in which I answered questions and had discussions via email and blogs rather than in person, and thus not really much of a change. Truth be told, you could distill a decent number of my days down to, “Answering questions and talking about digital library projects, with an interlude of lifting heavy objects.”

You know what? I am totally fine with that.

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