I was planning to get the earlier buses today which get me to work at 8ish so I could get some work done before we opened, but cuddles in bed with Cookie cat were too tempting to miss out on! I left home at 7.30 instead, and got the public bus and University shuttle. Bit of an eventful journey – I had a nose bleed on the University bus, but thankfully the kind student I was sat next to gave me loads of tissues.
I got to work just before 9am and checked emails, tweets and key RSS feeds. The project group for the CILIP big conversation was published this morning, and I was really pleased to learn that fellow new professional and blogger/microblogger Katie Fraser is on the group.
My first task of the day was to sort out a few outstanding issues from yesterday – cataloguing queries, new books, wrote a blog post etc. I also helped a colleague send a meeting request using Outlook Calendar – I’m a big user already but many colleagues prefer paper calendars. Outlook is good for sharing calendars though, and will be useful in future as staff are more geographically spread across campuses, so my colleague is keen to utilise it more.
At 10am I logged onto our virtual reference service; Thursday is our rota’d day to staff it. I had an early enquiry, but the user wanted to see someone in person ideally so I sent them a link to a relevant online help guide for their enquiry but also gave them information about where to get help in person. It always surprises me when students use our online service from within the building instead of going to the helpdesk, although I have to say my personal preference for getting help would probably be online.
A colleague is working through our reference collection and moving the majority into normal stock (reference collection is currently underused), and during the process she’s been looking at what we receive on standing order. I was really shocked to see the number of reference resources I didn’t know we had and particularly surprised to see the cost of them! Definitely something to look at more closely in future, particularly as so much information is now available online. I’d certainly be more likely to Google the name of a school to get contact details than look in the education yearbook.
Replied to some more emails, notified staff of new additions to the collection, and logged into my eportfolio as we had an email notifying us of new features. At this point I may have got slightly sidetracked with customising my eportfolio account! I’ve used it for the basics but would like to do more (or at least know how to!) on Pebblepad.
Then it was time for an early lunch, before my 1-3 slot on the enquiry desk. I had quite a few enquiries which was good as it’s been really quiet recently (many students didn’t return until this week). Lots of OPAC searches, directional enquiries, and helping people find books on the shelves. One thing I noticed on this slot were the number of students who apologising for asking for help, which worries me. Thankfully, I discovered after chatting to colleagues that it’s not exclusive to me, but we’re going to try to make sure the desk is more approachable and people don’t feel like they are interrupting – we are there to help after all!
Whilst I was on desk duty, I got materials together for an induction due at 4pm, but the lecturer called at 3.15ish and asked if we could move it forward. Thankfully the room was free so I took the group on a tour, and then gave them a brief introduction to our resources (PowerPoint and live demo). As always with these things, it didn’t go quite to plan – they seemed really impressed with e-books until I tried to get into one and hit an error page! Did get one working in the end though thankfully. They were a really enthusiastic group, and asked lots of questions which is always better than silence!
I finished the session at about 4ish, and spent the last hour tying up some loose ends with yet more emails, writing a blog post, and responding to a colleague about our RSS session. We run a session together for the Corporate Staff Development Programme, and it’s gathering more interest from teaching staff so we’re planning another scheduled session at the campus I’m based at, and more examples of RSS use in teaching included in the course. RSS is something we’re both quite passionate about, being advocates of new technologies and helping people manage information, and it’s great that we can help people utilise RSS feeds for teaching and research.
Last job for the day was taking some new books downstairs to the Teaching Practice Collection and checking a couple of classmarks, then it was time to log off virtual reference, shut down my machine, and go home. Thankfully no nose bleeds on the journey home!