Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A day in the life of a library - Wednesday

Hoping for a more productive day than yesterday - and quite enjoying this 'reflection' aspect of A Day in the Life of a Library.

8.30 - 8.45: Trouble shooting wireless keyboard and mouse - still no go. New batteries fail too .... I'll keep pondering and banging away on my notebook.

8.45 - 9.20: Clearing emails, posted to list about non fiction lending patterns and how to map them to buying patterns,

9.20 - 9.45: Received call from hospital: they can operate on my daughter tomorrow! Frantically clearing my diary, postponing our family holiday next week, changing bookings etc.

9.45 - 10: Learnt a new game with staff and volunteers at morning tea: Bananagrams. Awful game - exhausting and I can't cope with the adrenaline overload so early in the morning. It fits the brief though: can accommodate 2 - 7+ players, uses word skills and is fast (we got 3 games out in 15 minutes.)

10 - 11: Talked to Chair of the Library Trust about this weeks Trustee meeting that I will now miss, arranging for the library consultant who is helping with Te Takere (our new library / community centre) to speak to the GreyPower meeting about about the library, services to elderly and what Te Takere will offer to seniors in the District. Briefing student who is working through a bunch of IT issues for me: updating antivirus programme, reformatting harddrives and disposing of old equipment.

11 - 5 .45: Researching Annual Plans from other public libraries for content and layout inspiration. Started drafting our Statement of Intent 2011-2012. Thinking about key activities and projects for the next financial year and what resources we will need.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Library : Tuesday

Public holiday in Wellington Region - Anniversary Day.

8.30 - 9.45: Stowing away tables, chairs and display boards from the Library booth at the API show on Saturday and Sunday, carrying carpet roll back to the children's library to cover up the lino area used for the children's holiday programme that ran over the last few weeks, helped shelve gazillions of books returned over the long weekend.

9.45 - 10am: Morning tea (yay - coffee).

10.00 - 10.20: Plugged my computer back into my office but CAN NOT get the wretched wireless keyboard to talk to the PC. We took my PC down to the API show to run the slideshow promoting our new library building. Gave up in disgust and got my netbook out while I ponder what the problem is...

10.20 - 10.25: Reviewed bank account balances and transferred most of the building fund into a new term investment.

10.25 - 10.30: Fielded a phonecall from a mother of 4 children who just loved our Summer reading programme and couldn't sing the priases of our Children's Librarian highly enough. I rang said Librarian, who is taking a few well earned days off, and told her how much she had been appreciated and how obvious it was that she loved her work.

10.30 - 10.40: Read the agenda I prepared last week for the Trustees meeting being held on Thursday this week to see that it still makes sense (I wrote it in a bit of a flurry) and to see what additional information / preparation I need to do before the meeting. Nothing - which is good, because I would really like to go and help the technical services team out for a few hours. We have a team challenge on this month to reduce the time it takes for new items to transition from acquisitions to shelf ready. Target: 3 weeks including cataloguing and processing. It is a big morale booster when managers work in the trenches when team challenges are on.

10.40 - 10.50: Reviewed and accepted quotes for Koha enhancements and a few bug fixes.

10.50 - 11.00: Checked Twitter posts - followed up 3 links.

11.00 - 11.15: Cleared emails and read a few. Turns out I only ready about 10% of my emails so it really does pay to put an eye catching and relevant subject in if you want me to read your emails.

11.15 - 11.20: Wrote this blog post for A Day in the Life Project.

11.20 - 1 1.30: Answering an email from a Koha newbie about relative merits of Item Types vs Collection Codes in planning for data migration to Koha 3.2. I struggled with this too and recalled some blog posts I'd written nearly a year ago where I worked this issue through with the help of the Koha Community. Sometimes the sheer flexibility of Koha can be a hard thing; it really does force the librarian to 'know' their collection and how they want Koha to work for 'them'. Its a learning curve for librarians used to a traditional or proprietary LMS, involving intellectual engagement but also engagement with the Koha community of developers and other librarians.

11.30 - 12.00: Reviewed the GST return to spot obvious mistakes - getting a refund this time - yee hah!

12.00 - 1.00: lunch. Taught some of the staff a new card game: Five Crowns. We have been playing upwords for years - a heavily modified version which means we can get a game out in 10 minutes - and it was time for a new game.

1.15 - 3pm: Mummy duty. Had to race home and pick up daughter and take her to the Dr (she has tonsilitis - again) then back home again. Such are the joys of being a working single parent.

3pm - 3.10: Checking emails. 2 requests for more info about Koha item type vs collection codes decision making. Screen dumped our circulation rules matrix and sent it out. Also a Google Alert mail about a blog post mentioning Kete Horowhenua; forwarded this on to Walter at Katipo who did the development work.

3.10pm - 3.15: Updating this post, checked Twitter and followed up on 3 more links.

3.15 - 4pm: Digging out spreadsheets and data conversion notes from a year ago which I referred to in a blog post to share with another Koha library.... wish I could remember which ones I was referring to :( Writing a long email explanation as well on what I've learnt since.

4pm - 5.15pm: Processing new books (at last!) working alongside volunteers. Our volunteer processors and staff cataloguers are very competitive - which can definitely be used to advantage when we are trying to clear backlogs. Volunteers are essential to our organisation and the only 'payment' they receive is comaraderie and appreciation. I am very aware of this and it really is a treat to laugh and work on the processing table for an hour or 2 enjoying their company and winding up the cataloguers (who can see the processing pile whittling away before their eyes).

10.30 - 11.00 : checking emails, twitter and flicking through my 'favourite' blogs - don't have time to check them all tonight. Will try again tomorrow night. I feel guilty checking my blogs at work - which is crazy - so I usually work through my blog aggregator in the evenings, starring ones to read later and forwarding selected posts to staff mailing list and library Trustees.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Things I learnt over Summer

Back to work today after 3 weeks off. I always take a long time to soak into my holoidays so its timely to reflect on what I've learnt:
  1. Have the right tools and ingredients for the job: you can not make a good guacamole without fresh limes, it is impossible to demolish and rebuild a fence without a claw hammer and it is worth paying $2 more for 'good' sausages,
  2. Some things do take time: the slow and steady approach to toasting marshmellows over glowing coals is ultimately far more productive than a quick fly-through a roaring flame which inevitably ends in tears,
  3. Look at the big picture: I adore my children and they are growing into gorgeous adults - even the naughty ones (actually they are all naughty sometimes),
  4. Just enough can be enough: gin is better in moderation, as is sunbathing and late nights.
  5. Adversity is the steel for sharpening your game: a good beating in rough surf leaves you feeling invigorated and refreshed,
  6. Everyday heroes: we each have the power to change and save lives,
  7. Trust in the power of collaboration: sumptuous bbq banquets can be assembled quickly, quietly and without fuss at very short notice by a group of friends all looking out for each other,
  8. Surround yourself with 'good' people and ignore the 'bad': mean or nasty people add nothing of value to my life and I can choose to ignore them. They only have power if I give them attention.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why I support Life Saving NZ

I live at Waitarere Beach, a lovely spot on the western seaboard of the lower half of the North Island, New Zealand. This beach is not considered a dangerous beach by any means, has no big surf waves or Bondi Rescue type activities, but twice now a very good family friend who is a life guard at the Waitarere Surf Club has saved lives. This is the report from the Club Captain about yesterday's rescue:
"Big rescue 3pm approx, swell 1m, strong North Westerly, choppy seas. 5 people total, 2 adults 3 teenagers, caught in a hole (trench) out the back and could not get in due to rip.
This was an awkward moment as only two Lifeguards were on the beach and one was at the Clubhouse/equipment shed. So with calm heads, one Lifeguard swam out with rescue tube and kept patients afloat (4 hanging on tube and one on him). They were panicking, screaming and in distress. While second Lifeguard radioed for third to return to beach and also getting IRB into water with help from public.

Third lifeguard arrived to help man IRB and sped to aid of patients and their fellow Lifeguard who had his hands full keeping 5 heads afloat.They put 4 weakest in IRB (as IRB was maxed out) and one was towed to shore by First Lifeguard. First Aid treatment was given for mild shock and monitoring for signs of secondary drowning.

Our Lifeguards acted cooly and calmly to this dangerous situation, their training has shown them all to be first rate Lifeguards. The club is very proud of them. On occasions like this it shows the true value of the service. As the moto says Surf Lifeguards are "In It For Life". Lifeguards were Nathan Berry, Levi Tate and Mathew Duff."
The club is funded through club memberships, active or support, grants and fundraising. So if you ever have the chance to donate to a surf life saving club please do because they save lives.