The past two weeks has seen me growing more accustomed to my new position. I can hardly believe that in another week in a half I will have been here for a whole month. I’m still vastly learning new things everyday, which I don’t think that will change any time soon.My supervisor thinks that I’m catching on quite beautifully and has high hopes for me. So I thought I’d take the time to actually speak about my duties as an Reference Librarian in a Public Library.
In my system we have one main library and nine branches. Here at the main library is one of the few places you can solid reference help (if you don’t have access to an academic library) as in the branches the librarians do circulation and some (some do more than others) reference. As far as my duties go, I haven’t been trained on everything I’m slated to do, but I have gotten trained a good number of things that have kept me busy. I’m only going to talk about three in this post, so it won’t get to long.
Throughout the week I have assigned desk hours at the reference desk. During that time I’m usually the only one at the desk. I answer all incoming reference questions, in person and on the telephone. We aren’t set up with chat services which is something I’ve thought about investigating. But all tech stuff like that has to go through our IT department and the county. I’ve started some basic research into the subject; Public libraries and chat services but nothing solid. During my desk hours I do a lot of computer sign up and help. Whenever I get a free moment on desk I take the time to look at some of our physical reference materials as well as the databases. I’m very use to the large quantities academic libraries have and we are lucky to be in a consortium that has access to a very large network of databases, but some of the more subject specific ones we lack.
Collection Development and Maintenance
An ongoing duty of mines is the development and maintenance of my Dewey call numbers. As I mentioned before they did kind of get switched around so that similar subject groups could be worked on together and it could become more symbiotic. With this I’m in charge of making sure that subject collection is cohesive, reflects our usage as best I can, comprehensive, and up to date. There was a back log of gift books when I came in so I’ve gone through those and grabbing the books in my section. With donated books, since it’s not something we asked for we have to bring a critical eye to it. If it’s in bad condition I usually just toss. If it’s in good condition, I check and see if we have a copy already. In my branch or the system. If we do I check to see the usage of the other copies. Then depending on if we have a copy with a lot of use than I decide to keep it. If we have a lot of copies I send it to the book sale. If other branches have it with some usage than I put it on the maybe pile. For the maybes and the ones we don’t have a copy. I have to look up the subject, mostly to see if the book is dated, and if it’s a subject matter you don’t really want to have dated material about around. I look up reviews for certain topics, just to see if there is interest for it. After all that I decide on rather or not we should keep it. I haven’t gotten around to recommended new books for my sections because I haven’t gone through and really taken in to account what we have and what we need. I plan on doing that in the coming weeks.
As I’m sure the same goes for many public libraries across the nation, a good number of our patrons are looking for employment. Hey up until almost a month ago I was one of them. So it’s no surprise that we put a lot of focus on materials and resources for these patrons. Which is where I come in. We have a notebook that I am now charged to keep up with local job information. It’s set up with information for positions available at the state level, county, and city. We got information for some of our major employees and well has some information for federal jobs. For this duty I have to update the notebook every two weeks and anything job opportunity comes to me so I can find new avenues of getting my community hired.
Next time I’ll talk about some more duties and I’ve got a NCLA post to write-up. One day I’ll get back on track!