Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday: Brass Tacks Edition

9:00am- Wednesday mornings an are exception to the "no email first thing in the morning" rule, as we have our weekly Access Services team meeting every Wednesday from 10am to noon(ish). So my first hour of the day today is a leisurely one, replying to email, checking RSS feeds, following the essential hashtags on TweetDeck- #librarians, #illiad, #followalibrarian, and of course the day's trending silliness: #failedchildrensbooktitles.

10:00am- Supposed to be at the team meeting, but like clockwork there's a minor issue with the ILL scanner that needs to be sorted out. Fortunately my boss is the understanding type!

10:10am- Meeting time! I can't really share specifics on this one, but given the changes at Harvard with respect to the University's financial woes recently these team meetings have been as much about mutual support in a time of crisis as they have been about managing the weekly business of our department. Of course every crisis is an opportunity in disguise, and if there's a silver lining to the present predicament it's that the old library divisional and departmental silos are crumbling at an even faster rate than before as we reorganize ourselves and rebuild, offering myriad possibilities for cross-training, new technologies and innovation, as well as greater cooperation both internally and externally. Maybe I'm just that "glass is half-full" kind of person, but I know we'll make it through this rough patch and even come out the better for it.

Noon- A couple of troubleshooting emails, then my Borrowing coordinator and I sit down to flesh out our training plan for the public service desks assisting with our Borrowing request processing in the Fall. Fortunately all of our recent informal discussion about us has put us in a perfect frame of mind for the meeting, so in less than an hour we have ourselves an actionable plan with a timetable that seems achievable to the both of us. Although traditionally students have always helped the Lending side of our ILL operation, the exploding Borrowing request volume has necessitated some creative thinking on our part, and emboldened by our successful training of student processing assistants this summer we think we'll be able to pull this off on a larger scale!

12:45pm- Here come the brass tacks- an afternoon of knocking action items out of my email inbox. I won't bore you with the laundry list, but just as it can be gratifying to spend an afternoon thinking outside the box as I did yesterday Getting Things Done has its satisfactions as well. The new organizational scheme for my Gmail inbox seems to be working very well, so that urgent items and open troubleshooting "tickets" are no longer getting buried off-screen.

4:45pm- At last we have some resolution on one of yesterday's outstanding bugs about Odyssey resends, so a rapid-fire email conversation ensues between myself and the affected unit through the remains of the work day. I'm excited because not only have I managed to solve their problem, but in doing so I've discovered a much better resend workflow for our own ILL office. One of the great incidental positives that's come out of launching our campus-wide document delivery service is that the participating units now collaborate on a level that would have been unheard of before. In a sense it is a microcosm of the resource-sharing community at large- we are now a community in the best notion that word connotes, actively sharing our experiences and troubleshooting by bringing the collective wisdom of the group to bear on each problem. Librarians are a sharing lot by nature, but I've always been blown away by how much ILL librarians are willing to share their time and expertise with colleagues around the world. It makes me very happy that this is the library career path that I've chosen.

More tomorrow, where I'll be spending most of my day shadowing the Handheld Librarian Online Conference!

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