Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wizards and Databases

Just another fun day on desk, and a short day at that due to a doctor's appointment. Today it became abundantly clear that I need to know a lot more about the databases. eLibrary, InfoTrac General OneFile, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch all came into play today. My question to Librarians is this: Which database could you not live without and which one do you use the most with the public?

SS taught me some really nifty tricks in Sirsi, and showed me how she added the "Display title hold" wizard to the Adult Ref desk! Incredibly useful and easy to do!

I also got over my fear and picked up the phone to answer calls and even called over to other branches to have items pulled off the shelf for arriving patrons. Even banished myself for on hour to our children's desk, though it was very quite and I didn't get to do much.

All in all, an easy day. Wish I had something incredibly exciting or life altering to report, but the "Display title hold" still makes me drool, just a little...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Last night was my first internship experience off-site at another branch and was spent at the Twin Hickory Library shadowing and helping their YA librarian with their VolunTeen interviews. First, while I know that its not unique, I love the term VolunTeen instead of volunteer. With AM I got to do a little bit of everything over the course of 5 hours. The first hour was spent at dinner, which was fantastic because I was starving. But, it also allowed us a chance to talk and for me to ask LOTS of questions. What happens at TW is so much different from what happens at DU.

AM receives more applications each summer for her VolunTeen program than she has spots to fill. In the past, she has interviewed each teen that has applied to give them the opportunity to go through the interview process. This summer, however, she just doesn't have the time to interview each of the 50 teens who have applied. Tonight, I got to sit on 4 of her interviews. She has a standard series of questions that she asks each teen, and allows them to follow along on their own sheet. Of course, one of the secondary reasons for the interviews is to impress upon them that the majority (75%) of their time will be spent shelving, since that is the primary need. Since that leaves 25% to do other things, there are several areas in which they let the teens help and they give their top three choices.

Overall, her program is really impressive. She does her whole summer program schedule at the beginning, and after 8 or 9 hours of work, everyone has a place. It seems that with so few places hiring teens, that the aggressive ones are looking to replace those hours volunteering. Some even looking for 40 or 50 hours a week. AM has a fair way to make sure that everyone gets the minimum 2 hours a week. Some teens ask her for 20 hours per week, some just ask her for 2 or 3 and she does her best to treat them all equally. She starts them at 2, and then adds to those who want more in proportion.

My first hour was spent with her on the Children's desk. Spent a lot of time looking up information on the new summer reading lists that just came out. We also talked about how she does her paperback and leasebook ordering. is one resource she uses since she finds it more timely then SLJ. She does read the reviews in the standard literature, but enjoys the added information she learns from this site and even Amazon pre-orders. She also likes the updated awards lists all in one place.

I am excited to go back and help out with this great program and learn more about how she does things!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time to meet the TAB

Today, in addition to learning the joys of the copy machine, I spent some more time on desk and started to read through the CREW guide.

The highlight of the day was my first TAB meeting (Teen Advisory Board). The Northside TAB consists of students Grades 6 to 12 who consider Dumbarton or North Park to be their library. Tonight, we had 13 show up and the agenda was full! They discussed the upcoming volunteer activities, cut out sea animals for decorations, and gave their input on upcoming Magazine and YA Leasebook selections. I enjoyed meeting the kids, several of which I had seen at the New Years Eve party back on Dec 31!

KH really does a great job in putting the information together for the TAB to evaluate in an eye catching manner. She takes the lists of books that B&T will be publishing soon in the YA section, takes the book cover pic and adds the description to it, and then prints the "review" sheets for the meeting. The kids read over them and initial if they think that they or their friends would be interested in it. LK said that she has picked some really popular books this way that she might not have given a chance otherwise. She can only choose 10, and so it helps to get their input.

I am looking forward to the upcoming activities and to running this meeting in the future!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weeding and Wicca and Weddings, Oh My!

Day 4, what a day. Spent time on the desk, mostly looking up book availability for patrons; but did get to see some cool and unique stuff.

First, we helped a patron print off his wedding vows. The groom, along with a groomsman and looking very nice in their morning suits came in to print off his vows. Note to self, for the future the next time a groom in tux enters the building ask him what time the ceremony is. I hope that I didn't make him too late, and that the bride-to-be will think him getting a library card on the way to the wedding is a cute story, if not today then maybe down the road.

Next was the patron who called to request spell casting books. Unfortunatly, those books tend to weed themselves, so I hope that she was eventually able to find what she was looking for.

Lastly, I got to see a couple examples of collection Weeding. KC showed me the CREW guide and talked me through some of the situations she was working through with the Reference collection. I also learned from KH as she weeded some YA paperbacks. I was able to turn watching her into a mental excercise by trying to anticipate her decision before she made it.

Overall, it was a great day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

Wow, what an exciting time Day 3 turned out to be! Today was one of those days that proves that the library is never boring. Between the rain, the copier and the costume, it was a great day. KH, another fellow FSUer, asked me to help her make her Jellyfish costume that she is going to wear when she launches the Summer Reading Program at the area schools. The name we decided on? Peanut Butter Ann Jellyfish:) Get it?

Mostly, today was spent on Learning Objective #2, with observing (and even assisting a little) in the Word 1 and Excel 1 computer classes. When I asked M about what his biggest piece of advice to me would be for teaching these classes, he said without a doubt, to be flexible! You have to be okay with the unexpected and be able to think on your feet, and oh boy how true that was. For the Excel class that evening, only one person showed up. Fine, not a problem he began teaching. The student had just begun to use Excel heavily at work and so had some really good questions about tips that would make their life easier. It took some playing around, but we found the answer! It even turned out to be lucky that they were the only one to show, since it allowed us to take a field trip at the end of class.

Being flexible wasn't the only lesson I learned from observing the two classes. 2) It is important to be familiar enough with the material that you are not reading the script word per word. 3) To know where to find the answers if you don't know them. 4) Don't be scared, if they are there, they want to learn.

If everyone learns something new and has one "Aha!" moment, it was a class well spent. I am, by no means a beginner user of Word or Excel, but even I had a few "WOW!" moments myself:)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Old Habits are Hard to Break

Hello Day 2!

Today was spent learning how to set up the desk and how to do a reference interview. Only, as slow as it was, I didn't get to do much practice. I have a lot to learn about reference interviews, but I am hoping that I will be able to transfer my PSS (or Professional Selling Skills) to this new environment. This should actually turn out to be easier since the aspect I disliked the most about sales has been removed from the situation. With the help of DL I was able to find some great resources, so let the studying begin!

One lesson that I have already learned is that I am going to have to one day break all of my circulation habits. For now, it just feels weird to say "around the corner to the circ desk."

I am enjoying helping patrons find books and learning how to put items on hold. What little experience I got today was completely worthwhile!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Whole New World: Day 1

Well, its official. I am an intern! Nothing really too exciting or witty to say about day one. Today I was given a tour of all the resources that are kept behind the reference desk and the lay out of library from the reference point of view. Also, was finally excited to learn the easy way of searching for items and then placing them on hold.

Was excited to help my first patron! Of course, the item that she needed, we don't have in the system. But, it was a great real world situation.

Looking forward to Saturday and Day 2!