Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day in the Life

What does a librarian do all day? Well, today I'm participating in the Library Day in the Life Project, and I'll be updating this blog post all day. I'm the Coordinator for Distance Learning for Hilton C. Buley Library, and the Sciences Reference Librarian.

9:00am My day always starts with email and whatever problems have come up over night that I can help with. Today, that's problems with the database logins--might be something lingering from the power outages yesterday, but the servers in question are actually not on campus. Sorry folks, can't help much on that!

9:15 Email. Mostly vendor stuff, newsletter-y stuff (like Inside Higher Ed), and spam.

9:26 Not too much email this morning. Making tea to take to the reference desk for a 1 hour shift. If it's not busy, I'll be working on a new "Accessing the library databases from home" brochure.

10:20 Power out, and back, again! Just got "unproxied" database login instructions up before the power went out. I guess the patch to the campus electrical system didn't hold. (The power went out 4 times yesterday.)

10:30 Answered reference questions about database access problems, printing, and finding articles from a reference list. Pretty slow, but not surprising given the lack of power right there in the middle!

11:20 Proofread and submitted my final grant reviews (Done!) and walked through the remote login work around with a student on the phone. It's a problem because I can't see the same screens on campus. I think I need to go home for lunch.

1:00pm Updated instructions with screenshots from home. I hope this makes more sense. Time to head back to work.

1:30 Email. More email. Now can I work on my brochure?

2:00-3:00 Tea and the eduMOOC Live Panel #5: Public, Private, and Open Learning. The audio stream seems to be a little choppy today. eduMOOC is a Massive Open Online Course about online learning with over 2500 participants worldwide. The weekly panels pull experts from all sorts of online learning fields and institutions together for an hour, while the participants listen and chat via Twitter. Everything is recorded and is/will be available on the site.
  • Creative Commons is working on educational materials metadata scheme: LMRI
  • CC also involved in making available the materials produced in the TAACCCT grants, which is the grant project for which I just finished a reviewing stint. 
  • Cable Green of CC: open will eventually be the default, you'll need a good reason to close resources
  • Jeff Newell of the Ill. Community College Board says that they are working on state-wide developmental courses that will be at least partially online
  • CG: open an make efficiency--if so much financial aid and student money is being spent on textbooks (est. $5m for Eng101 book in Washington state), wouldn't it make more sense to provide cheap, open textbooks instead of extra financial aid or student loans?
  • Larry Regan (Penn State): open makes for better books, improvements from future users
  • JN: 25% of college cost is textbook costs (Ill CC study)
  • Ray Schroeder (U Ill and eduMOOC): the split between course content (ie open) and course credit (me: and support services) is going to be a big point of discussion
  • CG: "Iron Triangle" formula: access, quality, cost are all reciprocal--this is devastating especially in current budget situations; OER ("golden circle") disrupts this completely
  •  LR: may need a new paradigm if content is open (me: brings up the real question, what exactly does an educational institution deliver? It's not just content/information. Isn't our strength based on teaching and support of learning?)
  • OERu
4:00 Informal discussions about databases with other librarians. We are getting GeoBase on a new platform. Yay! Search widgets display differently in different browsers, and IE on Windows 7 messes up a lot of things, including our catalog. Ugh.

Good news: database access seems to be back (fingers crossed) and campus announcement says that we've got a new electrical system work around that should be more sturdy (fingers crossed again/still/more). Time to check email again and get back to work on that brochure.

4:50 Time to wrap up the day. I've got a draft of the brochure done, but it still needs some work.

What do I often do that I didn't today? Meetings (one tomorrow, but the summer is quieter in general); weeding (working on the medical sections right now--it gets outdated so fast!); collection development (buying books, etc.); helping students or professors with library research; teaching library instruction classes and demos; staff and faculty development (Web 2.0 and open access topics, mostly); helping faculty find resources for new classes or updating old ones; catching up on my own reading.

5:00pm Well, it's been nice spending the day with you. Have a good evening!

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