Friday, February 26, 2016

What it's like to Work at a Real Library.

Ever since the other year, I got a job working at a library. Its pretty perfect because I get to be around books for a job and I have time to get work or homework done. Not everyone has this fantastic opportunity, so for all you aspiring librarian science majors (or maybe you just REALLY love books), I'm making a blog post about it. I hope to interview the librarians I work with about their jobs but if not, I'll just post my experiences.

To clarify, I work at a university library, so my experiences are a little different from working at your average public library. On that note though, my library also functions as a public library to the wider community if they have a card already at the local public libraries.

My library features lots of your average library things:
  • Computers 
  • Tables and couches
  • Study rooms
  • A Kid's section
  • A Young Adult section
  • And an "Adult" section (its actually categorized as "leisure " and I say "adult" because it actually has YA books in it as well as some nonfiction, biographies, and all sorts of genres). 
  • A reference area 
  • A new book section
  • Magazines and journals
  • Reserves
  • Archives 
  • Printers
  • Inter-library loans (so you can check out books from other libraries)
  • Electronic equipment you can check out
What my library has that a normal library might not have:
  • Computers for strictly university students
  • Computers for everyone
  • Our archives pretty much just cover Danish history, my university history, or the city's collection of past city newspapers. 
  • A reserve area that is strictly for class textbooks and required readings and materials
  • No late fees (except if you're a student who's graduating. Then you get a $45 charge on your student account until you return the books. Or if its an inter-library loan, then its $1.00 for every day not returned.). 
  • An Einstein's cafe 
  • Most of our books consist of educational materials
Books with the Library of Congress sticker tags
on them. 
Our hours are also different and who is on staff during them. From 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. we have our library staff and then from 4 p.m, to 8 p.m. we have one student who comes in and works at the desk. During this time, there's only usually one library staff there to help students. Then from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, we have just three student workers.

Because I'm just a student, working at a university library, I don't have the jobs that normal librarians might have. Instead, I get to sit at our help desk in the afternoons or evenings and help patrons. 

When I help patrons, its usually helping a student locate a book, checking in and out materials, or giving them basic technology help (like how to use the scanner if you're a student). I usually don't mind helping our patrons because most of them are students and they are easy to help. If they're an non-traditional student though, they usually have more questions about technology than the regular students. 

I also get to shelve and put away books (after the afternoon shift organizes the check-ins we get on our cart). Our system is the Library of Congress system, and that's another post for another day. Its not too hard to learn, although sometimes the children's section can get a little confusing. 

I enjoy putting away books because I get to see what students are reading (and I can usually tell by how many books are checked in that day if there was a paper due in religion or something) and I get to learn where what kinds of books are where (for example, our books on history are in the Ds and music is in the Ms and education is in the Ls).

Overall I don't imagine working at the university library is a lot different from working at a normal library. And I would encourage anyone who wants to work at a library to talk to their local librarians and to try and start by volunteering there.

Special Interview with Missy. 
Missy is my roommate and fellow worker at the library with me. She's an English and communications major. So I decided to get her perspective.

Missy loves Disney! 
How would you describe working at the library?
A very calm atmosphere. Its a place where everyone at campus comes to get stuff done. Also being able to help students with their homework and their learning process is a lot of fun too, and being able to help them in any way that I can.

What's your favorite part about working at the library?
My favorite part is the fact that I get to be surrounded by books all the time and people who love books. Working with the librarians is a lot of fun because I get to learn a lot of new things and find new stuff to read.

How do you think it is different from working at a regular, public library?
The fact that we have so much behind the scenes, A lot more people are using your supplies because they need it for grades and research.

What is your least favorite part about the library?
Library of congress is something that isn't always fun. Especially when I'm trying to figure out how the Gs got all the way over to the Zs. Having to pick up books that people leave behind.

Any advice for people who want to work at a library?
Be willing to deal with the simplest to the most complex questions. Be able to tell them, "I don't know," I had someone come up with something about tax forms and I didn't know what to do with it. So its important being able to work with patrons and lead them to people who could help them more. Don't get frustrated with them.

Why did you decide to work at the library?
The first job I thought of when I got college was to work at the library. I felt like it was something that happened naturally for me. I needed to be there. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Any comments with profanity or comments that are hurtful/ mean will be removed. We appreciate hearing your thoughts. Remember, if you wouldn't say it to someone's face please do not say it on the internet.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...