Library Day in the Life Project, Round 7: Day 1

July 25, 2011

Logo designed by and stolen from the Indie Librarian

I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life Project (now in its seventh round) this week. To quote the project wiki, “the Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.”

Since I worked on Saturday, I had today off, so I’m going to talk about what I did on Saturday and the librarian-ish things I did today.


Our manga club meets on mostly alternate Saturdays during the summer (that is, we meet on alternate Saturdays except when something else gets in the way and I have to rearrange things). We meet on Sundays during the school year, but my library is closed on Sundays during the summer, so we moved the meetings to Saturday. We also moved the meetings from 1:30 in the afternoon to 2:30 so that one member who has a summer job can make it. I’m still in my first year in this position (my first professional position), so there’s a lot of this figuring things out as I go business.

Anyway, I arrived at work an hour early to get things ready for the meeting. As I walked in, one of our children’s librarians saw me and asked if I’d cover the desk for her for fifteen minutes so she could take a dinner break–they were short-staffed and she’d been there all day without relief. While I was at the desk, I ran into a patron whom I’d helped on Thursday night when she was looking for a YA romance. She had another request for me for a book we didn’t own, so I showed her how to fill out a purchase request form and then authorized it after she’d left.

I also started processing the summer reading club log entries that had come in since I’d left the night before. The club is another good example of something I’m figuring out as I go, and I’m planning to write about it in more detail once it’s all wrapped up, so for now, suffice it to say that it’s been a definite success, but it’s bordering on more work than I can do while keeping up with my other duties, all in nineteen hours a week.

After our children’s librarian came back, I started setting up for the manga club meeting. We cycle through different activities to reflect our members’ interests: one week we’ll watch a few episodes for an anime or a movie, the next we’ll discuss a volume of manga and do an activity, and then the week after that we’ll draw and do some other activity. I’ve also been planning other one-off activities like guest speakers, workshops, and cosplay contests, but the club’s only existed for a few months. This week was a drawing week, but I also thought it’d be fun if we made our own Pocky. I’d done the grocery shopping the day before, so all that remained was to gather drawing supplies and plates and drinks and things and to melt the chocolate.

One of our club members hadn’t heard that we’d be meeting an hour later, so he was in the room when I arrived. We chatted as I set things up and soon enough, other members started to arrive. I don’t require registration for these meetings, so while I hope club members will let me know if they’re coming or not, I’m never entirely sure how many we’ll have. This week we had six kids, which is a good but not great turnout for the manga club. The summer’s been kind of messing with my program attendance as kids leave town for camps and vacations and things.

They were all really excited about the Pocky. I’d found a recipe for the stick part, but it looked complicated and I ran out of time during the week to experiment with it, so I’d just purchased some Pringles Stix to use for the cookie part. I showed them how to dip the sticks in chocolate (it was a little tricky because I was using a too-large fondue pot to keep the chocolate all melty) and then pointed them to the different toppings: crushed freeze-dried strawberries, smashed almonds, shredded coconut, and spicy chili powder. The first three were really popular, but the last one wasn’t.

All gorgeously dipped, sprinkled, and laid out to harden

Some kids drew–two of our members who met via the club are working on a manga together–and others just hung out and chatted. The drawing days are the most informal ones, and the ones that just feel like kids with common interests hanging out and having fun together. They danced, they played music for each other, and they drew all sorts of goofy things. Saturday was especially interesting because we had an even mix of original members and members who’ve found out about the club via the summer reading program.

After our hour-and-a-half meeting was over, the kids left and I cleaned up and then finished processing summer reading log entries, awarded prizes and distributed raffle tickets, and then left. I was only there for about four hours, but I got a lot done and the manga club meeting went well!


Even though I had today off, I am never not a librarian, so I was doing library-related things. I only work nineteen hours a week, but I fill up the rest of my week with committee work, writing, professional development stuff, and other activities that make me feel like I’m a full-time librarian, even if I’m only paid for some of it.

Because I’m currently on YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee, I had the opportunity to go into New York City and visit a studio where Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star was being recorded. It was really, really cool to see how everything works and to be able to ask the narrator, the director, and the engineer about different parts of their job. And Maureen was there! This is one of the most interesting things I’ve done recently and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes perspective. It was also nice to see my fellow committee members in person again! We do so much work online but have so little face-to-face time. [edit: check out Sarah Debraski’s excellent post at The Hub for more details about the studio visit]

I had dinner plans that evening but time to kill in between, so I headed to NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building (the one with the lions, Patience and Fortitude!). I’d been there before, but never when the library shop was open and never with enough time to do a decent tour, so I spent some time wandering and gawking and bought a new messenger bag and then headed to the Rose Main Reading Room to get online. I worked on a blog post for a while (more on that in the next few days!) and then when my time was up, I adjourned to one of the long tables to read on my Nook. I had a hard time settling in to the story, though, because I kept getting distracted by how truly gorgeous the room is. I am so envious that New Yorkers have such a gorgeous building in which to read, study, and work. But man, if I think we have problems trying to provide modern services from an old building, just imagine the challenges they must face! And can you imagine working somewhere so beautiful? What a dream. I’m glad I finally had time for a proper, if short, visit. I’m looking forward to doing more exploring–and playing the Find the Future game–some other time.

The appointed hour arrived and I left to meet my husband and friends for dinner. We talked about work (I got to talk about library stuff with non-librarians!) and they discussed different goings-on with Internet startups and services. I’m lucky to be married to someone who’s pretty connected with technology and Internet culture: I was able to use him as a resource for my library’s Minecraft competition, and I pick up on a lot of interesting new developments through him. He definitely makes me better at my job.

Really, I think the best librarians probably have a lot of connections to different subcultures and resources that help them keep up on topics that are linked to librarianship or pop culture or youth development, and that those connections are part of what make them so good. We need to be familiar with print and electronic resources, yes, but we can’t neglect people resources, too.

So that was my non-work library day! I’ll have a more proper look into what goes on at work for you tomorrow, dear readers.

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